Employment Outlook Continues to Decline
Job seekers face a bleak March 2009, with employment expectations plunging in the manufacturing sector and weak in the service sector, according to the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE)Employment Report. 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% of America's private sector employment.
The report's March forecast indicates a 51.4% drop in manufacturing sector hiring and a 17.9% drop in service sector hiring compared to this time last year, the biggest decline in the survey's four-year history. "March's unrelenting decline in hiring levels and February's stagnant new-hire compensation are obvious signs of the country's recession and the unsteady global economy," said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. "Consequently, few recruiters and HR representatives in either sector noted difficulty in finding qualified applicants — 1.8% in the manufacturing sector and 3.1% in the service sector. The single-digit responses mark the lowest tracked in LINE's history. Fewer HR professionals are recruiting during the economic downturn, and, with an increased number of people looking for work, HR representatives and recruiters can afford to be selective and are having few issues with finding top-level talent."
The LINE index of manufacturing employment expectations for March 2009 dropped 51.4 points compared with one year ago. More than twice as many human resource managers will be cutting payrolls (34.9%) as will be hiring (15.3%). The difference with February 2008, where 45.9% of HR managers were hiring and 14.1% were decreasing payrolls, is yet another indication of the current recession.
The LINE index of service sector employment expectations fell 17.9%. HR professionals responded that 17.2% plan to reduce staff while 25.7% plan to hire. On a bright note, more service businesses will add employees than cut payrolls in March for the second consecutive month in 2009.