SHRM Report: March 2011 Hiring Will Rise in Manufacturing and Fall in Service Sector

Mar 3, 2011

SHRM Report: March 2011 Hiring Will Rise in Manufacturing and Fall in Service Sector

Alexandria, Va. – Hiring in the manufacturing sector is expected to rise during March while service sector hiring will fall compared with one year ago according to a monthly survey of human resource professionals at more than 1,000 companies across the country.

The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE®) Report includes the only national employment index of HR professionals’ month-ahead hiring expectations. The March report shows hiring plans are at a four-year high in the manufacturing industry. Though service sector hiring will slow, the layoff rate is expected to reach a four-year low.

Released the first Thursday of each month, the SHRM LINE Report for March 2011 shows that manufacturing sector hiring will increase by 12 points and service sector hiring will fall to a negative net of 11.5 points compared with March 2010.

“Compared to the same time last year, the manufacturing sector employment expectations index continued to improve while hiring expectations for the service sector declines for the first time in many months,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM.

A closer look at the year-over-year hiring basis shows that a net of 35 percent of service sector employers plan to add jobs in March 2011 compared with 46.5 percent that did so last year—leaving a negative net of 11.5 points.

When March hiring plans for the service sector are examined without comparison to last year, the news is more positive. Nearly four in 10 companies—39.2 percent—plan to hire this month while 4.2 percent plan to layoff workers, marking a four-year low for March layoffs.

In the manufacturing sector, 53.1 percent of companies plan to add workers to payrolls while 7.4 percent expect to lay off staff, also a four-year low for March layoffs in the sector.

The LINE Report provides a snapshot of anticipated hiring for the month ahead and also examines data from the previous month.

Wages and benefits for newly hired employees inched up in February 2011 for both sectors. Compensation packages in the service sector made a 4.9-point net gain compared with one year ago, while the manufacturing sector made a 5-point year-over-year net gain.

The February 2011 gains mark the fifth consecutive month that employee wages and benefits for new-hire compensation inched up.

“The ongoing rise in the recruiting difficulty and new-hire compensation points to more favorable conditions for jobseekers, especially those possessing in-demand skills,” said Schramm. “However, the drop in hiring expectations for the private service sector suggests that the labor market continues to experience areas of weakness.”

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 comprise more than 90 percent of America’s private sector employment.

Highlights of SHRM LINE year-over-year findings:

Employment Expectations



In March, manufacturing hiring is up on an annual basis.

+12 points

-11.5 points

Recruiting Difficulty

In February, the index for recruiting difficulty rose sharply in manufacturing and services compared with a year ago.

+11.6 points

+21.7 points

New-Hire Compensation

The rate of increase for new-hire compensation in February rose on an annual basis in both manufacturing and services.

+5 points

+4.9 points

Source: SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment

To read the SHRM LINE Report, visit: and click the “Latest LINE Report” button.

Reporters note: 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


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