SHRM Report: December Hiring Expectations Low

Dec 4, 2009

SHRM Report: December Hiring Expectations Low

LINE Report looks at hiring projections for one month ahead.

Alexandria, Va. Human resource managers expect hiring to outpace layoffs in both the manufacturing and service sectors during December, but warn jobs will not be plentiful, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) LINE® Employment Report. This is the sixth straight month that LINE has shown hiring trending over job losses.

The SHRM LINE shows a mixed bag for job seekers. While more companies expect to hire compared to one year ago and job openings in both sectors inching up for the second consecutive month, widespread hiring is not on the horizon.

A closer look at the manufacturing sector shows that a net total of 10.7 percent of companies will add jobs in December. Specifically, 28.2 percent of HR professionals surveyed said their company will increase staffing while 17.5 percent will cut jobs.

The service sector shows that a net total of 18.8 percent of companies will add jobs in December — 28 percent will hire workers while 9.2 percent will reduce staffing levels. The number marks the eighth straight month that the service sector hiring rate will exceed this sector’s layoff rate.

“Though December 2009 hiring expectations are expected to show a positive gain compared with this time last year, the numbers merely reflect a slowdown in the high volume of layoffs that continued to devastate the U.S. workforce last December,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. “LINE shows a very slow recovery in the making.”

The findings are detailed in the December 2009 SHRM LINE Reportalso called the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment Report a set of labor market indicators that tracksfour 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 also examines data from the previous month. The full report:

A closer look at new-hire compensation packages

The new-hire compensation index in the services sector from November 2009 shows more companies raised new-hire salaries and benefits than reduced them. LINE data show that 2.8 percent of surveyed HR professionals said their company increased compensation compared with 1.3 percent who reported decreases a net total of 1.5 percent.

The year-over-year number, however, did not improve. In November 2008, a net total of 3.2 percent of companies increased compensation for new hires.

In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 1.1 percent of HR respondents said their company increased new-hire compensation in November 2009. A closer look shows that 2.3 percent increased compensation packages while 1.2 reduced compensation packages. The net total is the lowest for November in the report’s five-year history tracking the manufacturing sector.

“LINE shows that the rate of increase for new-hire compensation continues to fall as it has for more than a year,” said Schramm. “There continues to be little pressure on employers to ramp up compensation packages for new-hires, indicating that there is still a large pool of job seekers willing to accept lower offers.”

LINE data show that HR professionals in both sectors continue to report a large unemployment pool from which to recruit.

Additional findings:

  • Exempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – November 2009 findings show a net total of 2.5 percent of HR professionals reported increases in exempt,primarily salaried, jobs available. (Specifically, 16.1 percent reported increases while 13.6 reported decreases.)
  • Exempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 1 percent of firms reported an increase in exempt job vacancies in November. (Specifically, 11.8 percent reported an increase while 10.8 percent reported a decrease.)
  • The November 2009 numbers mark the fourth consecutive month for both sectors that exempt vacancies are higher than those recorded for same-month, previous-year openings.
  • Nonexempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – November numbers show a net total of 3.3 percent of HR managers reported an increase in their company’s nonexempt, or hourly, employment vacancy rate. (Specifically, 16 percent reported increases while 12.7 percent reported decreases.)
  • Nonexempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 5.2 percent reported an increase in hourly job vacancies in November. (Specifically, 16.9 percent reported an increase while 11.7 percent reported a decrease.)
  • The November 2009 numbers for nonexempt vacancies show positions are slowly being created when compared to one year ago — the difference in net open positions compared to November 2008 shows a 22.1 point increase in the manufacturing sector and 21.2 point increase in the service sector.

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


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