SHRM Report: August 2009 Hiring Rises for Second Consecutive Month

Aug 7, 2009

New-hire compensation continues to remain flat or fall

Alexandria, Va. Human resource professionals say August hiring expectations for the manufacturing and service sectors will outpace layoffs, marking the second consecutive month for positive news, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) LINE® Employment Report.

In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 11 percent of companies will add jobs this month — 32.6 percent will hire workers while 21.6 percent will cut staffing levels. The number marks the highest level of manufacturing sector planned hiring in 10 months (since last October).

The service sector also shows improvement with a net total of 16.9 percent of companies planning to add jobs in August. Specifically, 28.9 percent of HR professionals surveyed said their companies will add jobs while 12 percent said their companies will decrease headcount. The responses mark the fourth consecutive month that the service sector hiring rate will surpass the lay-off rate.

“The slowdown in layoffs is good news for the economy but new-hire compensation packages continue to take a hit or remain flat as employers seek to control costs while recruiting much needed employees to keep businesses performing,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM.

The findings are detailed in the August 2009 LINE Employment Report— also called the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment Report — a set of labor market indicators that forecast changes to four national employment measures: job expectations, job vacancies, new-hire compensation and recruitment difficulty.

LINE provides a snapshot of anticipated hiring for the month ahead and examines previous month data. The full report:

A closer look at new-hire compensation packages

The new-hire compensation index in the services sector fell compared to this time period last. More companies reduced new-hire salaries and benefits than increased during July. In July 2008, a net total of 6.6 percent of companies increased compensation for new hires compared with July 2009 when fewer companies — net total of 1.6 percent — decreased new-hire compensation.

In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 0.3 percent of HR respondents said their company increased new-hire compensation in July 2009. A closer look shows that 3.1 percent increased compensation packages while 3.4 percent decreased compensation. The net total is the lowest July response in the report’s five-year history tracking the manufacturing sector.

LINE data show that HR professionals in both sectors continue to report little difficulty in recruiting top talent.

Additional findings:

  • Exempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – July numbers show a net total of 3 percent of HR professionals reported increases in exempt jobs available. (Specifically, 15.3 percent reported increases while 12.3 reported decreases.)
  • Exempt vacancies (service sector) – July numbers show a net total of 10.3 percent of HR managers reported a decline in their company’s exempt employment vacancy rate. (Specifically, 12.0 reported increases while 22.3 reported decreases.)
  • Nonexempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – A net total of 6.9 percent of firms reported an increase in hourly job vacancies in July. (Specifically, 17.2 percent reported an increase while 10.3 percent reported a decrease.)
  • Nonexempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 6.1 percent reported a rise in hourly job vacancies in July. (Specifically, 18.2 percent reported an increase while 12.1 percent reported a decrease.)

LINE is based on a monthly survey of human resource professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 private service-sector companies. Together, these two sectors comprise more than 90 percent of America’s private sector employment.

Reporters note: The SHRM LINE Report is released at 9 a.m. Eastern time on the third Friday following the conclusion of the week containing the 12th of the month. The SHRM employment expectations index describes the same time period referenced approximately one month later in the Employment Situation Report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect