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Survey: More U.S. Companies Hiring, But Job Losses Still Outweigh Gains

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 4, 2020 — The COVID-19 Business Index released today by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and Oxford Economics is the latest of a growing group of indicators suggesting the U.S. economy could be nearing the bottom of its downturn. The survey found more employers are hiring salaried workers than laying off or furloughing them, and that these gains are long-term, not short-term. Despite these positive developments, however, the survey shows job creation is still not occurring at the rate required to recover the more than 40 million jobs lost in the U.S. since the outbreak of COVID-19.   

Key findings include:

  • More employers (15 percent) are hiring salaried workers than laying off or furloughing (6 percent) them;
  • However, more than twice as many salaried employees are losing jobs than being hired.
  • Similarly, more employers (13 percent) are increasing hours for hourly workers than reducing hours (8 percent) for them;

  • However, the overall number of hourly workers working fewer hours continues to outpace those receiving more hours.

  • Although outweighed by losses, most jobs gained are long-term, not short-term, roles, as 95 percent of employers say salary hires are long-term gains while 70 percent say the same of hourly hires.

(See the new Index here.)

"We're starting to see more employers seeking new talent and show they are ready to get back to work," said SHRM President and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. "That's heartening to hear: The recovery is coming. But the truth is it's too soon to say what shape it will take—that will take more time and research." Taylor added: "I can say this, though, to the workers who have been laid off or furloughed: Start skilling up, now. Yes, some jobs will come back. But, frankly, some are gone forever, and many of those that do return are going to be different."  

"Despite a continued increase in newly filed unemployment claims, state re-openings may be beginning to benefit some portions of the economy," said Dan Levine, head of Oxford Economics' location strategies practice.

The COVID-19 Business Index will be updated on a bi-weekly basis through June 2020, providing business leaders and government officials with a pulse on the state of business in the U.S. during the evolving economic crisis.


Media: Contact Julie Hirschhorn at and 703-842-5152 or Cooper Nye at and 703-535-6447.

Methodology: Twice each month, a panel of roughly 1,000 HR professionals within the United States are asked a recurring series of questions about their organizational response to the crisis, including changes in employment and shifting HR strategies. This report covers the third iteration of the survey, fielded between 5/12/2020 and 5/15/2020, and includes 770 respondents.

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.

About Oxford Economics

Oxford Economics is a global advisory firm providing reports, forecasts, and analytical tools on more than 200 countries, 250 industrial sectors, and 7,000 cities and regions. Our multidisciplinary team is highly skilled in a full range of research techniques from econometric modelling, scenario framing, and economic impact analysis to bespoke Thought Leadership surveys, case studies, and web analytics. Our best-in-class global economic and industry models give us an unparalleled ability to forecast external market trends and assess their impact.


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