ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although up from levels observed in 2010, hiring in 2011 has shown little clear direction or pattern. An initial pickup in hiring plans from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011 has largely stalled during the remainder of the year, according to projections from 278 employers responding to BNA's latest quarterly employment survey.
Among the survey's findings:
Analysis of 2011 "net" hiring projections (the percentage of employers planning to add new positions minus the percentage planning job cuts) shows increases over 2010 levels but a stagnating, if not slightly declining, trend for production/service and technical/professional staffs.
Net hires for production and service workers jumped 7 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011 (from plus 12 to plus 19 points). Since then, however, there have been small successive declines to plus 18 points in the second quarter, plus 17 points in the third quarter, and plus 16 points in the fourth quarter of this year, indicating a possible deteriorating trend.
Net hires for technical and professional staff jumped from plus 18 points in the fourth quarter of 2010 to plus 28 points in the first quarter of 2011 and plus 30 points in the second quarter. This has been followed, however, by a net decline to plus 26 points in the third quarter and plus 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Net hires for office and clerical staff have been more volatile. After a sharp increase from plus 1 point from the fourth quarter of 2010 to plus 11 points in the first quarter of this year, net hires declined to plus 8 points in the second quarter and plus 1 point in the third quarter – before rebounding to plus 12 points in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The incidence of employer-reported layoffs presents a mixed picture through the first three quarters of 2011, with declines for production/service employees, but increases for technical/professional and office/clerical staff.
Eight percent of employers reported production and service workers on layoff in the third quarter of this year, down from first-quarter (10 percent) and second-quarter (11 percent) levels. Reported layoffs of technical and professional staff were 8 percent in the third quarter, unchanged from the second quarter but up from the 4 percent in the first quarter. Reported layoffs of office and clerical workers has increased from 5 percent of employers in the first quarter to 7 percent in the second quarter and 8 percent in the third quarter. Layoffs in 2011, however, are noticeably below what was observed in 2010.
While more employers reported job vacancies in July and August of this year than during the same period in 2010 for production/service and technical/professional positions, reports of unfilled jobs has changed little over the first three quarters of 2011. For production and service positions, reported "difficult to fill" positions went from 15 percent of employers in the first quarter to 14 percent in the second quarter and 17 percent in the third quarter. For technical and professional positions, those figures were 42 percent in the first and second quarters and 44 percent in the third quarter. For office and clerical staff, vacancies in the first, second, and third quarters of 2011 were 5 percent, 8 percent, and 7 percent respectively.
BNA's survey of the employment outlook has been conducted quarterly since 1974. This quarter's report is based on responses from 278 human resource and employee relations executives representing a cross-section of U.S. employers, both public and private.
BNA is the leading independent publisher of print and electronic news and analysis for professionals in business and government. Through survey research, expert analysis, and in-depth reporting, BNA continues to advance the understanding and practice of human resources and labor relations within organizations. Visit BNA at www.bna.com.