SHRM Report: January 2010 Hiring Will Outpace Layoffs

Jan 8, 2010

SHRM Report: January 2010 Hiring Will Outpace Layoffs

Salaried and hourly job openings slowly increasing

Alexandria, Va. Jan. 8, 2010– A monthly survey of human resource (HR) managers in more than 1,000 companies across the country shows January 2010 hiring will outpace layoffs for the third straight month compared with last year.

Though layoffs persist, and job opportunities are limited, HR managers expect exempt and nonexempt hiring to outpace job cuts in both the manufacturing and service sectors this month, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) LINE® Report.

The SHRM LINE Leading Indicators of National Employment hiring index also shows a year-over-year positive gain of 37.8 points expected for manufacturing hiring during January, and 21.1 points for service sector hiring.

A closer look at manufacturing sector year-over-year numbers show that a net of 17.6 percent of surveyed companies plan to hire in January 2010 compared with the net of 20.2 percent that laid off workers in January 2009.

In the service sector, year-over-year numbers show a net of 11.3 percent of companies will add jobs in January of this year compared with the net of 9.8 percent that cut jobs same month last year.

The findings are detailed in the January 2009 SHRM LINE Report, a set of labor market indicators that tracks four national employment measures: (1) job expectations; (2) job vacancies; (3) new-hire compensation; and (4) recruitment difficulty. In short, LINE provides a snapshot of anticipated hiring for the month ahead and also examines data from the previous month.

“Albeit a slow rise, the small increase in job openings in both sectors is a sign that economic conditions may finally be starting to improve,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. “Unsurprisingly, the new-hire compensation index is likely to remain flat as long as the number of job seekers for relatively few spots remains high and competition fierce.”

Are salaried job openings increasing?—Yes:

  • Exempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – December 2009 findingsshow a net total of12.2 percent of HR professionals reported increases in exempt, primarily salaried, jobs available. (Specifically, 21.8 percent reported increases while 9.6 reported decreases.)
  • Examined year-over-year, the manufacturing sector exempt vacancies represent a 25 point increase from December 2008, and the fifth straight month that exempt vacancies are higher compared to one year ago.
  • Exempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 5 percent of firms reported an increases in exempt job vacancies in December. (Specifically, 13.5 percent reported increases while 8.5 percent reported decreases.)
  • Examined year-over-year, the service sector exempt vacancies represent an 18.8 point increase from December 2008. The service sector, like the manufacturing sector, also experienced a fifth straight month during which exempt vacancies were higher compared to the previous year.

The vacancy rate for nonexempt jobs is up:

  • Nonexempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – December numbers show a net total of 7.7 percent of HR managers reported an increase in their company’s nonexempt, or hourly, employment vacancy rate. (Specifically, 17.6 percent reported increases while 9.9 percent reported decreases.)
  • Examined year-over-year, the nonexempt employment vacancy rate for manufacturing jobs represents a 27.1 point increase from one year ago.
  • Nonexempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 4.4 percent reported an increase in hourly job vacancies in December. (Specifically, 14.9 percent reported an increase while 10.5 percent reported a decrease.)
  • Examined year-over-year, the December 2009 service sector nonexempt employment vacancy rate marks a 27.9 point increase from December 2008.

Trends in new-hire compensation packages and recruiting difficulty:

The new-hire compensation index reports previous month data. December 2009 numbers show more service sector companies increased new-hire salaries and benefits than reduced them. LINE data show that 2.5 percent of surveyed service sector HR professionals said their company increased compensation compared with 1.8 percent who reported decreases a net total of 0.7 percent.

Compared year-over-year, the net total marks a decline from December 2008 when a net total of 4 percent of service companies increased new-hire compensation.

In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 0.1 percent of HR respondents said their company decreased new-hire compensation in December 2009, a number unchanged from December 2008. A closer look shows that the responses nearly cancel one another 2.7 percent increased compensation packages last month while 2.8 reduced compensation packages.

The recruiting difficulty index shows HR managers had an easier time filling jobs during December 2008 than December 2009. “It could be that some categories of job seekers are finding work more quickly than they did a year ago,” said Schramm.

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 8:30 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