Second-Quarter Hiring to Remain Stable

Chicago — April 4

Stable hiring is expected for the second quarter as U.S. employers continue to size up a market that is producing moderate economic growth, according to CareerBuilder’s latest job forecast.

Twenty-six percent of employers plan to increase full-time, permanent headcount in the next three months, similar to projections for the previous two quarters, but trending below second quarter estimates from the year-earlier period.

The national survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive from Feb. 11 to March 6, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.

In a previous survey completed in November, 26 percent of employers planned to hire full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2013. The number of employers who actually hired full-time staff was 28 percent, down from 33 percent last year — reflecting a cautious environment in the wake of slower-than-expected economic growth in fourth quarter 2012.

Twelve percent of employers decreased headcount, up from 9 percent last year, according to the forecast, and nearly 60 percent said there was no change in their number of full-time, permanent employees. Two percent said they were unsure.

Looking ahead, 26 percent of employers plan to add full-time, permanent staff in the second quarter, down from 30 percent last year. Given that employers historically have been more conservative in estimates than hiring activity, the number may come in higher at quarter’s end, the study suggests.

Nine percent expect to downsize staff, according to the study, up from 6 percent last year, and 60 percent anticipate no change while 5 percent are undecided.

Temporary labor continues to be an important part of the employment mix, though employer estimates for hiring over the next three months are slightly lower than last year’s.

Thirty-two percent of employers plan to hire contract or temporary workers in the second quarter, down from 34 percent in 2012, the study said. Nearly one-in-four (24 percent) are planning to transition some contract or temporary staff into permanent employees in the second quarter, the same as last year.

Source: CareerBuilder