SHRM/Rutgers LINE® Index Forecasts January Flat Manufacturing Hiring and Drop in Service-Sector Hiring

For Immediate Release

Dec 24, 2007

Alexandria, Va. ─ According to new numbers from the SHRM/Rutgers Leading Indicator of National Employment® (LINE®), hiring for the manufacturing sector will be flat and service sector hiring will decline significantly in January 2008. The report also projects that those who do gain employment will earn less than new hires did last year.

“The LINE employment expectations findings indicate that there will be far less service sector hiring for January 2008 than in January 2007 while manufacturing hiring will remain about the same,” said Jennifer Schramm, SHRM manager of workplace trends and forecasting.

“Positive news for employers is that the recruiting difficulty index dropped dramatically for both the manufacturing and service sectors,” Schramm said.

These findings are reported in the January 2008 LINE employment expectations report, an economic indicator that forecasts changes to four national employment measures: job expectations, job vacancies, new-hire compensation and recruitment difficulty. The LINE index is an early indication of the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, which is released five weeks later. Also, LINE provides the only published index of new-hire compensation and recruiting difficulty.

Manufacturing Sector:

The LINE index of manufacturing employment expectations forecasts flat, unchanged, hiring expectations of employers for January 2008 (28.2) compared to January 2007 (28.2).

Wage inflation does not appear to be a major concern given the flat hiring expectations for the manufacturing sector.

A look at exempt and nonexempt vacancies shows both are higher than one year ago. Employers reported a rise in the vacancy rate index among exempt manufacturing jobs for December, the month leading into the January forecast —8.2 during December 2007 versus -3.8 in December 2006.

The vacancy rate index of nonexempt manufacturing jobs rose from 0.0 in December 2006 to 11.3 in December 2007.

In the measure of planned recruiting activity by employers, there was a significant drop in the LINE recruiting difficulty index — 19.5 in December 2006 versus 12.1 in December 2007.

Projected compensation for new hires in manufacturing also declined. The manufacturing new-hire compensation index for December 2007 dropped to 5.6 from 9.8 in December 2006.

Service Sector:

The LINE index of service-sector employment expectations forecasts significantly weaker growth for January 2008 (22.9) compared with January 2007 (41.6).

The service-sector exempt employment vacancy index fell from 2.4 in December 2006 to -9.0 during December 2007. A drop also occurred in the nonexempt employment vacancy index from 12.5 in December 2006 to -13.5 during December 2007.

The recruiting difficulty index is well below that of a year ago — 14.1 in December 2007 compared with 22.3 in December 2006.

The new-hire compensation index decreased from a year ago — 4.9 in December 2007 from 10.7 in December 2006.

About LINE

This SHRM/Rutgers LINE indicator of employment expectations provides an early snapshot of anticipated U.S. hiring for the same January period as the report the BLS will release in February. The monthly report forecasts changes in national employment by surveying human resource professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service sector firms. Responses in the LINE survey are weighted using the proportion of total employment represented by the respondent’s industry.

The LINE report is a collaborative effort between the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations. The SHRM/Rutgers LINE report began forecasting manufacturing sector hiring trends four years ago and service sector three years ago.

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 225,000 individual members, the Society’s mission is both to serve human resource management professionals and to advance the profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM currently has more than 576 affiliated chapters within the United States and members in more than 135 countries. Visit SHRM Online at

School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers

The School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, is a leading center of scholarly and applied research on human resource management issues. The school creates and disseminates knowledge that fosters a better understanding of the nature of employment and work in modern society. The Rutgers Master of Human Resource Management degree is one of the top human resource management programs in the nation.


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