Job Front: Area employers bullish on 2014

With Sacramento employers banking on a stronger economy in 2014, their optimism could mean good news for local job seekers in the new year.

Seventy-six percent of Sacramento-area employers said they were upbeat about the economy and six in 10 said they planned to hire in the first three months of the year, including hiring to increase their workforces, according to Sacramento placement firm Pacific Staffing’s quarterly report on area employment trends.

“It’s an indication of what may be a breakout year. ... In Sacramento, that’s significant news,” said local market analyst Rick Reed, who has conducted the quarterly telephone survey for Pacific Staffing since 1992.

The survey showed a higher percentage of local firms anticipate hiring to fill positions and also expanding their workforces next year than compared with 2013’s first quarter. At that time, 57 percent of companies said they planned to hire, with 36 percent of those hiring for growth.

As encouraging, Reed said, nearly three-quarters of businesses surveyed – 74 percent – said they expected their companies to grow in 2014.

The climate is much different than in 2009, when jobless rates soared and Sacramento and California were mired in recession.

“These are significant improvements in the market from regional employment and economic conditions just four years ago,” the report read, recalling the hiring freezes, layoffs and shuttered businesses that marked that year.

Regionally and statewide, the economy has started to gather momentum. California’s jobless rate fell to 8.5 percent in November and payrolls gained 44,300 jobs, according to the state’s Employment Development Department. In the four-county Sacramento region, unemployment dropped to 8 percent, just a slight decrease from October’s 8.1 percent but well below the region’s 9.6 percent jobless rate during the same time last year.

The jobs that are in demand, such as warehouse and distribution drivers hauling manufacturing orders and construction materials, point to an economy continuing its recovery.

“Drivers … are in demand among distributors, bottling plants, construction supply and materials firms,” according to the report.

“There is plenty of opportunity” in logistics, Reed said, adding that a shortage of drivers shows that product orders are escalating.

That is borne out in November online job postings reported by the EDD. More than 500 ads were posted for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, good for sixth among the area’s top 10 occupations for online employment ads.

Health, tech jobs up

Health, technology and staffing firms dominated Sacramento-area online job postings in the Employment Development Department’s latest Help Wanted Online report. Sutter Health topped the list with 869 postings in November, while Dignity Health was a distant second with 557 posts. Intel placed third with 307. Demand was also strong at Kaiser Permanente, which posted 229 ads in November.

Staffing firms Randstad, Soliant, TruStaff and Deloitte dotted the top 10 while retailer Sears and Vail Resorts, which operates Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar ski resorts, also appeared on the list.

Contact us

Is your company hiring? Is your organization hosting a career fair or offering job training? Contact Job Front at dvsmith@sacbee.com.