Optimism for Jobs Market Brightens for 2nd Quarter, SHRM Poll Shows

Apr 4, 2011
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Optimism for Jobs Market Brightens for 2nd Quarter, SHRM Poll Shows

Alexandria, Va., April 4, 2011 — More human resource professionals are optimistic about the job market than last year and one-third of them plan to hire in this second quarter, a new report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows.

The Jobs Outlook Survey — formerly called Labor Market Outlook — is a biannual report published by SHRM. Released today, the report for the second quarter of 2011 indicates that the confidence held by HR professionals about the U.S. jobs outlook has increased.

Fifty-seven percent of HR professionals expressed confidence in the job market, an increase from 39 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 45 percent a year ago. Of those, 53 percent were somewhat optimistic, and another 4 percent were very optimistic.

“Even though large-scale hiring isn’t yet occurring, confidence in the job market is being buoyed by signs that the economy has entered a recovery mode after a lengthy recession,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting in SHRM’s Research Department. “For some organizations, an improved outlook is resulting in increased expectations of productivity as they boost working hours of existing staff. Others are bringing on temporary staff or are hiring full-time regular employees.”

In another key finding, the survey showed that 33 percent of HR professionals said they would hire in the second quarter, up from 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 24 percent a year ago. Of those, mid-sized companies (100 to 499 employees) were the mostly likely (35 percent) to add jobs in the second quarter. Large and small companies followed closely, with 33 percent and 32 percent respectively.

That projection mirrors actual hiring from the first quarter of 2011, when 36 percent of survey respondents hired staff.

Among the survey’s other results:

Job losses continue to decline: Twelve percent of companies had layoffs in the first quarter of 2011, a decline from 20 percent the same time last year. Managers and professionals were those most affected by layoffs.

In this second quarter, just 7 percent of organizations — led by the government sector — said they planned to do layoffs.

Some organizations are counting on greater productivity: With some companies hesitant to add to their payrolls until there is a sustained period of economy growth, some employers are increasing the workloads of their current staffs. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they expected their hourly employees to work longer hours in the second quarter compared with the first quarter of the year.

For details, visit the labor market and economic data section of SHRM.org at http://www.shrm.org/Research/MonthlyEmploymentIndices/Pages/default.aspx. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview with a labor market expert, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and kate.kennedy@shrm.org or Jennifer Hughes at 703-535-6072 and jennifer.hughes@shrm.org.

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 more than 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 www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SHRMPress.

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