Survey reveals that hiring is still slow and qualified job seekers are scarce

Source: Society for Human Resource Management

Nov 24, 2010

The U.S. private-sector labor force is expected to make small gains in hiring in November 2010, but the pace of job increases remains sluggish, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) survey data for November 2010.

Manufacturing and service companies are expected to add more workers in November 2010 compared with a year ago, but opportunities are still limited for job seekers.

“Although HR professionals are reporting small gains in hiring in November [2010] compared to the same time last year, improvements in hiring expectations have slowed considerably in recent months, especially in manufacturing,” said Jennifer Schramm, GPHR, SHRM’s manager of workplace trends and forecasting. “On a monthly basis, the manufacturing employment expectations index has actually dropped over the past three months.”

The LINE report examines employers’ hiring expectations and job vacancies, recruiting difficulties and new-hire compensation. The report findings are based on a monthly survey of private-sector human resource professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service-sector companies that together employ more than 90% of the nation’s private-sector workers.

Employment Expectations



In November 2010, hiring will increase in manufacturing and services on an annual basis for the 13th straight month.



Recruiting Difficulty



In October 2010, the index for recruiting difficulty rose modestly in both sectors compared with a year earlier.



New-Hire Compensation



The rate of increase for new-hire compensation in October 2010 rose slightly on an annual basis in both sectors.




Employment Expectations

The manufacturing hiring index will improve in November 2010 on a year-over-year basis by a net of 10.7 points (a net of 28.5% of employers will hire compared with 17.8% that added jobs in November 2009). The service hiring index will rise in November 2010 by a net of 11.3 points (a net of 27.1% of employers will add jobs, compared with a net of 15.8% that added jobs in November 2009). But the pace of hiring has ebbed considerably during the past three months for both sectors.

Job openings for salaried positions rose in both sectors in October 2010. In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 15.8% of respondents reported increases in exempt vacancies in October 2010, a 9.6-point increase from October 2009. In the service sector, a net total of 15.1% of respondents reported increases in exempt vacancies in October 2010, a 13.2-point increase from October 2009. This represents the 15th consecutive month for both sectors that exempt vacancies are higher than those of the same month the previous year.

A net total of 20.3% of manufacturing respondents reported that nonexempt vacancies also increased in October 2010 compared to October 2009. Still, hiring has leveled off in manufacturing in the second half of 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and LINE data. The rise in vacancies could be an indication that companies are having trouble finding workers with the skills needed for jobs, and might be driven partially by growth in the professional and business services sector, which added 28,000 jobs in September 2010, according to BLS.

For nonexempt service positions, a net total of 19.6% of respondents reported increased vacancies in October 2010, a 4.0-point jump from October 2009.