About the LINE® Report

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Current LINE® report: August 2017

Leading Indicators of National Employment®


Manufacturers with increased recruiting difficulty in July 2017


Manufacturers that will add jobs in August 2017


Manufacturers that increased new-hire compensation in July 2017

Source: SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) (August 2017)

Before other indicators are released, the SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment Report® (LINE®) provides information on:

  • Expected Job Change: The LINE Employment Expectations index is released approximately one month earlier than the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Employment Situation Report covering the same period.
  • Recruiting Difficulty: The LINE Report includes the only published measure of the difficulty firms have recruiting highly qualified candidates for their most critical positions. Such difficulties constrain the competitiveness of firms and the U.S. economy.
  • New-Hire Compensation: The LINE Report also includes the only published measure of changes in wage rates offered to new hires which respond sooner than the wages of all workers to changing economic conditions.
  • Vacant Positions: The LINE report also tracks changes in the number of job vacancies in exempt and nonexempt positions in the manufacturing and service sectors.
Why can the SHRM LINE Report provide this information before anyone else?

The SHRM LINE Report uses data collected through a monthly survey of human resource executives at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service-sector firms.   They know if their firm’s workforce will be significantly expanded or cut back in the upcoming month because they are responsible for the job changes already underway. The LINE expectation measures are therefore not economic forecasts, but are simply a report on “what’s already in the works.” This provides an early indication of the numbers the BLS will release approximately one month later.

The SHRM LINE Report uses the unique insight of HR professionals in a new and different way to produce a number of measures that have not been previously tracked including employment expectations, new-hire compensation and recruiting difficulty. 


LINE data are collected through a survey of human resource professionals. Data are collected from two samples of approximately 500 HR professionals at manufacturing firms and 500 at service sector firms. Because the manufacturing sector is more cyclically sensitive than nonmanufacturing, changes in this sector are often leading indicators of change in the overall economy. Compared with overall employment, employment in the manufacturing sector tends to decline sooner during periods of economic contraction and increase sooner during periods of economic expansion. The service sector is widely viewed as an area where future job growth will occur and is monitored closely for that reason.

Two parallel LINE indices are released each month, one for manufacturing and one for the service sector. Each sample includes firms classified by their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Responses to the survey are weighted by Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates of the percentage of the employment in each subsector.

Report Release Calendar

  • April: 04/06/2017
  • March: 03/09/2017
  • February: 02/02/2017 
  • January: 01/05/2017 
  • February: 02/02/2017
  • March: 03/09/2017
  • April: 04/06/2017
  • May: 05/04/2017
  • June: 06/01/2017
  • July: 07/06/2017
  • August: 08/03/2017
  • September: 08/31/2017
  • October: 10/05/2017
  • November: 11/02/2017
  • December: 12/07/2017

Survey Panel

The LINE Report would not be possible without the participation of hundreds of HR professionals. We are always looking to add more firms to our sample of manufacturing and service-sector organizations to the LINE Survey Panel.  

  • All of the data provided is kept strictly confidential and aggregated in a manner that will not allow the identification of any participating company.
  • Each month participating organizations are sent a link to the survey web site to answer five short questions. Click here for an example of the monthly survey questions.
  • Survey requests are e-mailed on the Thursday before the second Tuesday of each month, and organizations have approximately a week and a half to respond. It takes only about five minutes each month to complete the survey and submit the response. 
  • In return for participation in the LINE panel, SHRM can send your CEO (or another person in your organization) an annual letter of recognition explaining how your participation has helped advance the HR profession.
  • Do you have your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP? Earn up to 20 PDCs by using LINE data to advance your organization. Refer to page 8 of the recertification handbook. 
  • We also periodically offer monthly drawings for gift certificates to the SHRM Store, copies of SHRM survey reports and other items of interest to HR professionals. If you are an HR professional and SHRM member and are interested in becoming involved in the LINE Survey Panel please contact us at LINE@shrm.org.  

Historical Data

LINE historical data and its component indexes are available in both tab delimited and Excel file formats.

Definition of Acronyms

  • MLINE - SHRM LINE Manufacturing index
  • MTEM - Manufacturing Total Employment
  • MEXEM - Manufacturing Exempt Employment
  • MNEXEM - Manufacturing Nonexempt Employment
  • MTVA - Manufacturing Total Vacancies
  • MEXVA - Manufacturing Exempt Vacancies
  • MNEXVA - Manufacturing Nonexempt Vacancies
  • MRD - Manufacturing Recruiting Difficulty
  • MNHC - Manufacturing New Hire Compensation 
  • MEE - Manufacturing Employment Expectations
  • SLINE - SHRM LINE Service Sector index
  • STEM - Service Sector Total Employment
  • SEXEM - Service Sector Exempt Employment
  • SNEXEM - Service Sector Nonexempt Employment
  • STVA - Service Sector Total Vacancies
  • SEXVA - Service Sector Exempt Vacancies
  • SNEXVA - Service Sector Nonexempt Vacancies
  • SRD - Service Sector Recruiting Difficulty
  • SNHC - Service Sector New Hire Compensation
  • SEE - Service Sector Employment Expectations

Contact Information

For questions on LINE data please contact SHRM Research at (703) 535-6301 or line@shrm.org.

Members of the media should contact SHRM Media Affairs at (703) 535-6356 or press@shrm.org.

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