SHRM Report: January 2012 Hiring Will Be Weak

Jan 5, 2012

SHRM Report: January 2012 Hiring Will Be Weak Compared to One Year Ago

Alexandria, Va. January 2012 will mark the third consecutive month that hiring activity will decrease and job cuts will rise on an annual basis according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The January hiring expectations follow SHRM’s analysis of month-over-month and year-over-year hiring patterns at 500 service-sector companies and 500 manufacturing companies.

The report shows that on an annual basis -- comparing January 2012 to January 2011 -- service sector hiring will drop significantly by a net of 15.4 points and manufacturing sector hiring will fall by a net of 4.4 points.

“While overall, more employers are planning to hire than lay off staff this month, the net employment expectations are lower compared with January 2011,” said Jennifer Schramm, GPHR, and manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM.More growth is needed to continue to bring down the unemployment rate.”

The findings are detailed in the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE®) Report. LINE is the only national employment index capturing HR professionals’ month-ahead hiring expectations, and past-month recruiting difficulty.

A closer look at the service sector shows that a net of 6.1 percent of employers plan to add jobs in January 2011 compared with a net of 21.5 percent that did so one year ago. In the manufacturing sector, the drop is less steep with a net of 25.3 percent of companies reporting plans to hire this month compared to 29.6 percent that did so one year ago.

Regarding past-month trends, the SHRM LINE Report shows the recruiting-difficulty index for December 2011 to be slightly higher than one year ago while new-hire compensation remained largely flat.

Where recruiting difficulty is concerned, the report shows a net of 11.6 percent of human resource professionals in manufacturing companies reported difficulty in filling key positions during December. The December recruiting-difficulty index marked a 2.9-point increase from one year ago. In the service sector, a net of 9.1 percent of companies reported recruiting difficulty for the month of December, marking a 5.8 percent increase from last year.

The numbers mark the highest net of recruiting difficulty in four years for the month of December.

The LINE Employment Report examines four key areas: employers’ hiring expectations, new-hire compensation, difficulty in recruiting top-level talent and job vacancies. The LINE Report 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 make up more than 90 percent of America’s private-sector employment.

Highlights of SHRM LINE year-over-year findings:

Employment Expectations



In January, hiring will drop slightly in manufacturing and fall sharply in services compared with a year ago.

-4.4 points

-15.4 points

Recruiting Difficulty

In December, the index for recruiting difficulty rose slightly in both sectors compared with a year ago.

+2.9 points

+5.8 points

New-Hire Compensation

In December, the rate of increase for new-hire compensation rose in manufacturing and fell in services compared with a year ago.

+0.6 points

-3.9 points

Source: SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment

To read the SHRM LINE Report, visit: and click the “Latest LINE Report” button. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: The SHRM LINE Report is released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on the first Thursday of each month. The SHRM employment expectations index describes the same time period referenced approximately one month later in the Employment SituationReport 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 and follow us on Twitter at


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