Technical/Professional Prospects Might Improve Modestly in Third Quarter, but Bloomberg BNA Survey Finds Stagnant Outlook for Office/Clerical and Production/Service Staff
ARLINGTON, Va., June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Technical and professional workers might see modest improvement in their job prospects during the third quarter, but employment opportunities for office/clerical and production/service staff appear to have stagnated, according to responses from 274 employers participating in Bloomberg BNA's Employment Outlook – 3rd Quarter 2012 survey. Following marked improvement in 2010 and early 2011, hiring prospects for all three groups covered by the survey have since shown scant evidence of sustained growth.
Nearly one-third of all responding employers (32 percent) expect to expand their technical/professional staffs in July, August, and September, up from 28 percent in the previous quarter to the same level recorded for the third quarter of 2011. Hiring prospects for technical and professional workers surged as the economy came out of recession, but fell off somewhat from mid-2011 through last quarter. Given the overall stagnation in projected job opportunities over the last five or six quarters—and the most recent employment numbers from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics—a forecast of sustained or considerable improvement in technical/professional opportunities would be premature.
Third-quarter hiring projections for production/service and office/clerical job candidates extend an up-and-down pattern observed since early 2011. Just over one-fifth of the surveyed establishments (22 percent) expect to expand production/service staff levels during the summer, down somewhat from projections recorded for both the previous quarter (25 percent) and the third quarter of 2011 (26 percent). Fourteen percent anticipate office/clerical workforce growth in July, August, and September, little changed from last quarter (15 percent) and a year ago (12 percent). For both of those nonmanagement employee groups, workforce expansion plans have bounced around a fairly narrow range since the first quarter of 2011.
While recent Bloomberg BNA employment surveys have given little indication of an impending boom in hiring prospects, the current employment situation is still substantially better than the dismal outlook of a few years ago. Expansion plans are much more prevalent than during the depths of the last recession and, for the past year or so, comparatively few surveyed organizations have anticipated workforce cutbacks among nonmanagement workers. Moreover, reports of employees on layoff continue to reflect recent improvements in job security, with layoff incidence falling back near the levels observed before the 2007-2009 recession.
If struggles with job vacancies portend improvements in the labor market, technical and professional job candidates might have some reason for optimism. Roughly half of the surveyed employers (49 percent) reported difficulty filling technical/professional vacancies in April and May, up six points from reports for the previous quarter and the highest percentage indicating such problems since the third quarter of 2008 (51 percent). Far fewer companies experienced difficulty finding qualified production/service candidates (16 percent) during the spring, and only a handful (5 percent) had any problems with office/clerical openings.
This survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of human resource executives representing organizations throughout the United States. Of the 274 employers responding to this survey, 49 percent have fewer than 250 workers, 16 percent have workforces of 250 to 499 employees, 10 percent employ 500 to 999 workers, 10 percent have workforces of 1,000 to 2,499 employees, and 14 percent employ at least 2,500 workers. By industry, 21 percent of the organizations are manufacturing companies, 45 percent are nonmanufacturing firms, and 34 percent are nonbusiness establishments. By region, 21 percent of the employers are located in the Northeast, 31 percent are in the South, 35 percent operate in the North Central states, and 12 percent are located in the West. Total employment of the reporting organizations: 423,790.
Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance — the information that matters most to professionals. Bloomberg BNA's authoritative coverage spans the full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.
SOURCE Bloomberg BNA