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Forecast: Hiring to continue

By Matt Ferguson

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Corporate Management

Expectations for hiring in the coming months are encouraging following a dip in job creation in May, according to's quarterly job forecast.

Although 39 percent of hiring managers surveyed are electing to slow recruitment over the July-September timeframe, one-half anticipate increasing their headcount.

Looking back -- The first half

The United States has added nearly 1 million jobs so far this year with May marking 24 consecutive months of sequential gains, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth has averaged 176,000 in the last two months, keeping pace with the 17-month average of 180,000.

Three-fourths of hiring managers report their organizations have added workers over the last six months to expand operations, support new product launches, improve customer service and drive more revenue. The latest government reports show that, in the first quarter, corporate profits rose 13.8 percent year over year.

At the same time, wage and salary income grew stronger at an annual rate of 6.9 percent, providing consumers with more disposable income and helping to fuel economic expansion. The gross domestic product expanded at a 3.5 percent annual rate -- outpacing original estimates - according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Moving forward -- Will history repeat itself?

The second half of 2005 is expected to show continued business and consumer confidence. Although tracking below projections for the second quarter, hiring activity for the third quarter is tracking above last year's estimates, according to's survey.

Fifty percent of hiring managers primarily operating in services industries plan to add new workers, up from 47 percent last year. Other highlights include:

  • 22 percent of hiring managers plan to hire between 11 and 50 workers and 17 percent expect to add more than 50
  • 27 percent plan to do the majority of their hiring for the year in the third quarter
  • Only 11 percent plan to decrease headcount.
  • Top jobs -- Which markets are heating up this summer?

    This brings us to the million dollar question: where are the jobs? Typically, the job market during the summer will bring more opportunities in retail, hospitality, food service, landscaping or construction and those that are leisure-related such as park districts, camps, amusement parks and athletic clubs.

    However, other areas hiring managers are targeting in the third quarter include:

  • Healthcare
  • Sales
  • Accounting/Finance
  • Information Technology
  • Engineering
  • Customer Service
  • has experienced a 25 percent to 35 percent increase in job postings in each of these areas year over year.

    Temporary jobs are also in demand as employers manage gaps from vacationing employees during the summer and test-drive candidates for permanent positions in the fall. Sixty-two percent of hiring managers plan to recruit temporary employees in the third quarter.

    In terms of job level, demand for entry-level employees is on the rise with 18 percent of hiring managers recruiting for administrative and clerical roles, up from 12 percent in the second quarter.

    Three in 10 hiring managers plan to recruit candidates to fill professional and technical positions and one in 10 plan to recruit for managers, directors, team leaders and senior executives -- similar to the previous quarter.

    Hiring by region -- Going west?

    For three consecutive quarters, projected hiring activity in the Midwest is tracking below the other regions. Forty-five percent of hiring managers in the Midwest expect to increase their staffs in the third quarter, compared to 47 percent in the Northeast and 50 percent in the South.

    The West is leading in this measurement at 53 percent, replacing the South which led in the second quarter. In terms of downsizing, the Midwest is housing the lowest number of those planning to decrease their headcount at 8 percent, a significant improvement from when it led in this category in the second quarter at 13 percent.

    The Northeast is following closely at 9 percent with the South and West tied at 13 percent.

    Job changes -- Will employers feel the burn?

    Fueled by an improved perspective on the job market, consumer confidence rebounded in May, rising 5 percent over the prior month, according to the Conference Board.

    The percentage of consumers who felt jobs were abundant increased to 22.6 percent from 20.4 percent. Inspired by a better job outlook and online becoming a mainstream vehicle for recruitment, more than 140 million unique visitors searched for jobs online last quarter, according to comScore Media Metrix.

    One in five workers say they are dissatisfied with their current positions with increased concerns in the areas of compensation, workload and work/life balance,'s survey found.

    Nearly half of workers report feeling burnout and one in 10 plan to leave their jobs for a more positive work experience in the third quarter.

    Survey Methodology: The new survey, "Q3 2005 Job Forecast," was conducted from May 17 to May 27, 2005 of more than 1,600 workers. To collect data for the survey, commissioned SurveySite to use an e-mail methodology whereby individuals who are members of SurveySite Web Panel were randomly selected and approached by e-mail invitation to participate in the online survey. The results of this survey are accurate within +/- 2.43 percentage points (19 times out of 20). Note: the sample of 1,600+ included more than 650 hiring managers. The results for the hiring managers alone are accurate within +/- 3.84 percentage points (19 times out of 20).

    © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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