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Examining CareerBuilder’s U.S. Hiring Forecast for Q1 vs. Q2 2010

Around the time that Career Builder’s Quarter 1 2010 Hiring Forecast was released, many were asking, “Where are the jobs?”  The economy was just beginning to show some signs of recovery, and there was discussion about new growth, although, such discussions were offset by the realization that those “green shoots” (or signs of new economic advancement) were slow to grow in what was still an arid economic environment. Even as credit continues to thaw and investors around the globe attempt to rediscover their confidence in a still quite fragile global economy, the global financial system is due to recover at a glacial pace (and there have been numerous setbacks, e.g. Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, dimming the prospects of extended periods of positive growth). Still, with America’s economy once again making positive gains in the fourth quarter 2009 (although, America’s economy did shrink by 2.4% in 2009) and the first quarter 2010, the question, once again, is, “Where are the jobs?”

Despite gloomy descriptions of the financial landscape, CareerBuilder managed to successfully answer this question with the release of their U.S. Hiring Forecast for the first quarter 2010.  There it was announced that the Information Technology, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Sales and Healthcare, Transportation and Utility, and Retail industries would all be expanding their workforce by between 15% to 32%.  In addition to this, 23% of the total employers surveyed responded that they would be increasing the number of full-time employees on their pay roll—this number is staggering in light of the Q4 2009 findings. CareerBuilder’s U.S. Hiring Forecast for Q2 contains the same seed of optimism concealed in their Q1 projections.  In fact, its authors openly admit there is “[a] renewed sense of optimism in hiring is revealed in CareerBuilder and USA TODAY’s latest nationwide survey of employers.  For the third consecutive quarter, more employers are projecting they will increase headcount in the next three months while fewer employers are expecting staff cuts.” Their findings?

While the findings for Q2 certainly are not anything at which to scoff (especially against the backdrop of CareerBuilder’s findings for Q4), there was little change in terms of overall hiring between Q1 and Q2.  23% percent of employers, again, responded that they had increased the number of full-time, permanent employees on staff, while 8% decreased (compared to 12% in Q1).  Furthermore, an overwhelming number of employers responded that, in the second quarter, they are neither hiring contract workers nor offering more internships.

So, what should we draw from the immense amount of data CareerBuilder has compiled? The first thing that comes to mind is that even though unemployment remains uncomfortably high, employment opportunities still exist. My second observation relates to the first: this year will hopefully bring with it new opportunities for job-seekers as the economy continues to rebound, albeit slowly. However, CareerBuilder’s report must must be read against the backdrop of recent jobs reports. While recent job reports show that some jobs are being added, May’s jobs numbers, due to the small number of jobs created in the private sector, failed to meet market expectations and sustained characterizations which see the recovery of the U.S. economy as overwhelmingly “jobless.” Nevertheless, it seems America’s gradual financial rebound is bringing with it some new jobs (whether this rebound can, and will be sustained, is another question entirely). Thus, if you are currently looking for a job, remain hopeful—you never know what could be just around the bend.

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