Upwork files form for IPO

Online staffing provider Upwork, the largest B2B human cloud firm, today filed a Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UPWK.”

Number of shares to be offered and price range were not yet announced.

Upwork noted it had 375,000 freelancers and 475,000 clients in more than 180 countries in 12 months ended June 30, 2018,

“The online freelance economy represents a shift in how labor markets operate,” the company wrote in its S-1 filing. “We believe that we are still in the early stages of the online freelance economy, with a multiindustry and multidecade global shift affecting how businesses find talent and how people want to work.”

Upwork posted revenue of $121.9 million in the six months ended June 30, 2018.

(US$ thousands) H1 2018 H1 2017 % growth
Revenue $121,899 $95,531 27.6%
Gross profit $81,825 $64,578 26.7%
Gross margin  67.1% 67.6%  
Net loss ($7,196) $1,369 nm

Revenue was $202.6 million last year.

(US$ thousands) FY 2017 FY 2016 % growth
Revenue $202,552 $164,445 23.2%
Gross profit $137,109 $101,867 34.6%
Gross margin  67.7% 61.9%  
Net loss ($4,123) ($16,223) nm

Upwork is based in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in San Francisco and Chicago. The Upwork brand formed in 2015 after the merger of oDesk and Elance.

PEO industry employs 3.7 million: NAPEO

Employment growth in the professional employer organization industry is 14 times higher than the growth rate in the US economy overall, according to a new study released today by the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations at its annual conference in Phoenix. The 907 PEOs in the US combined to count a total of 174,545 clients in 2017, according to the study by economists Laurie Bassi and Dan McMurrer of McBassi and Associates.

The 3.7 million worksite employees employed by these PEOs earned a total of $176 billion in annual wages and represent 12.1% of all employment by private sector employers that have 10 to 99 employees — the size range of most PEO clients — and 2.4% of civilian employment in the US. Between 2008 and 2017, the number of worksite employees employed in the PEO industry grew at a compounded annual rate of 8.3%.

PEOs generate an estimated $136 to $152 billion in gross revenues, according to NAPEO.

“The numbers in this study reinforce the growing footprint of the dynamic PEO industry,” said NAPEO President and CEO Pat Cleary. “The outlook for continued growth and vibrancy is extremely bright for PEOs given the significant value proposition we offer to small and mid-size businesses: Faster growth, higher profitability and happier employees.”

Private sector adds 163,000 jobs in August, smallest gain since last October

US private-sector employment rose by 163,000 jobs in August from July, the lowest gain since October 2017, according to the ADP National Employment Report.

The total of jobs added in July was also revised down to 217,000 from 218,000; however, it remained the strongest hiring since February.

“Although we saw a small slowdown in job growth the market remains incredibly dynamic,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, VP and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Midsized businesses continue to be the engine of growth, adding nearly 70% of all jobs this month, and remain resilient in the current economic climate.”

With more job openings than people looking for them, the labor market is set to remain on the tighter side for some time, according to MarketWatch, and August’s jobs gain fell short of the forecast from economists polled by Econoday, who had expected an increase of 182,000.

The number of goods-producing jobs rose by 24,000 in August on gains of 19,000 manufacturing jobs, and 5,000 construction jobs; however, jobs in resources/mining declined by 1,000 jobs.

Service-providing jobs rose by 139,000 in August, including by 38,000 jobs in professional/business services, 31,000 jobs in education/health services, and 25,000 jobs in leisure/hospitality. No service-job categories posted declines.

Large businesses added 31,000 jobs in August, midsize businesses added 111,000 jobs and small businesses added 21,000 jobs.

“The job market is hot,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “Employers are aggressively competing to hold onto their existing workers and to find new ones. Small businesses are struggling the most in this competition, as they increasingly can’t fill open positions.”

Gen Z seeking ‘future-proof’ jobs, iOS developer tops list: Indeed

Members of ‘Gen Z’ demonstrate a strong interest in “future-proof” jobs, according to research released today by Indeed. Initial surveys also suggest that job stability is a priority for Gen Zers.

The oldest members of the Gen Z — born in 1997 — are graduating college this year, and Indeed’s analytics team crunched the numbers on Gen Zers of graduation age compared to everyone else. It also calculated a “popularity index” to show how much more frequently this group clicks on certain full-time job postings compared to all other job seekers.

The Gen Z popularity index compares graduation-age Gen Zers to all other job seekers. For each job, the index divides the number of clicks from graduation-age Gen Zers by the number of clicks from other job seekers. The results show how much more frequently Gen Zers of college graduation age clicked on certain full-time jobs compared to all other job seekers.

The following postings received higher shares of interest from Gen Z, based on Indeed’s Gen Z popularity index:

  1. iOS developer, 3.2
  2. Computer vision engineer, 2.3
  3. Machine learning engineer, 2.2
  4. Audio engineer, 2.0
  5. Daycare assistant, 2.0
  6. Beauty consultant, 1.9
  7. Junior software engineer, 1.9
  8. Bridal consultant, 1.8
  9. Photojournalist, 1.8
  10. Bookseller, 1.8

US jobless claims average falls to lowest level since 1969

The US four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 209,500 last week, down 2,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average, the US Department of Labor reported. This is the lowest level for this average since Dec. 6, 1969, when it was 204,500.

The four-week moving average smooths the volatility of the week-to-week numbers. Total initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Sept. 1 fell to 203,000, down 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level; this is also lowest level since Dec. 6, 1969, when it was 202,000.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 214,000 in the latest week. Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job cuts or laying off workers because of uncertainty caused by the Trump administration’s trade policy, that has not been reflected in the claims data, Reuters reported. Economists say given labor market tightness, employers were reluctant to lay off workers. The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment.

US nonmanufacturing activity accelerates in August, employment metric edges up

Economic activity in the US nonmanufacturing sector accelerated in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index released today.

ISM’s nonmanufacturing index rose to a reading of 58.5 in August from a reading of 55.7 in July.

Readings above 50 generally indicate improving conditions.

The employment portion of the index edged up in August to 56.7 from July’s reading of 56.1. Twelve industries reported increased employment, and four industries reported decreased employment. 

Comments from respondents to the survey on which the index is based include: “Employee retention is getting much more challenging,” and “losing people to attrition [and] having trouble replacing [them] in the current market.”

Signature Consultants Gets Ranked Among Largest Information Technology Firms in St. Louis

Every year, the St. Louis Business Journal ranks the largest firms in the St. Louis area according to business categories. This year, Signature Consultants is proud to have been positioned among the area’s top 25 largest information technology firms. “It’s an honor to be included among St. Louis’ most prominent local businesses,” explains Josh Bahr, […]