SHRM Report: September 2009 Hiring to Rise to Levels Not Seen in Nearly a Year

Sep 4, 2009

LINE Report shows anticipated hiring trends for month ahead

Alexandria, Va. Human resource professionals say September 2009 hiring expectations for the manufacturing and service sectors will rise, reaching a level not seen in nearly a year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) LINE® Employment Report.

The report shows that this month manufacturers (33 percent) and service sector (35.6 percent) companies plan to add workers at the highest combined levels of hiring since October 2008.

Though the good news is found in the month-to-month numbers, the year-over-year numbers still show that hiring is down compared to this time last year 10.3 percent in the manufacturing sector and 8.5 percent in the service sector.

A closer look at the service sector shows that a net total 22.8 percent of companies will add jobs this month, marking the fifth consecutive month the hiring rate will surpass the layoff rate. Specifically, 35.6 percent of HR professionals surveyed said their company will increase staffing while 12.8 percent will cut jobs.

The manufacturing sector shows that a net total of 13.8 percent of companies will add jobs in September — 33 percent will hire workers while 19.2 percent will reduce staffing levels. The number marks the highest level of manufacturing sector planned hiring in 11 months (since last October).

“Though more companies are reporting plans to hire in September compared to past months, new-hire compensation continues to decline,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. “The historically large number of job seekers in the labor market is making it easier for organizations to fill jobs quickly, and at lower new-hire compensation rates.”

The findings are detailed in the September 2009 SHRM LINE Reportalso called the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment Report a set of labor market indicators that forecast changes to four 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 examines previous month data.

The full report:

A closer look at new-hire compensation packages

The new-hire compensation index in the services sector plummeted compared to this time period last year. More companies reduced new-hire salaries and benefits than increased during August 2009. LINE shows that 3.3 percent of surveyed HR professionals said their company increased compensation compared with 4.8 percent who reported decreases a net total of negative 1.5 percent. One year ago, in August 2008, a net total of 14.2 percent of companies increased compensation for new hires compared.

In the manufacturing sector, a net total of 0.2 percent of HR respondents said their company decreased new-hire compensation in August 2009. A closer look shows that 2.7 percent increased compensation packages while 2.9 percent decreased compensation. The net total is the lowest for August in the report’s five-year history tracking the manufacturing sector.

LINE data show that HR professionals in both sectors continue to report little difficulty in recruiting top talent.

Additional findings:

  • Exempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – August numbers show a net total of 13.5 percent of HR professionals reported increases in exempt jobs available. (Specifically, 22.2 percent reported increases while 8.7 reported decreases.)
  • Exempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 1.1 percent of firms reported an increase in exempt job vacancies in August. (Specifically, 15.6 percent reported an increase while 14.5 percent reported a decrease.)
  • Nonexempt vacancies (manufacturing sector) – August numbers show a net total of 14 percent of HR managers reported an increase in their company’s nonexempt employment vacancy rate. (Specifically, 23.3 reported increases while 9.3 reported decreases.)
  • Nonexempt vacancies (service sector) – A net total of 0.4 percent reported a decrease in hourly job vacancies in August. (Specifically, 14.8 percent reported an increase while 15.2 percent reported a decrease.)

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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