Overall, U.S. employment growth continued to expand in March for both the manufacturing and service sectors, and hiring expectations for the next 30 days remain strong. The employment increase is attributed to typical seasonal hiring, however, the manufacturing growth is stronger than this time last year, and data indicates April employment growth for both sectors to be even greater than March. The findings are reported in March’s Leading Indicator of National Employment (LINE™), a collaborative effort between the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations.
Manufacturing employment continues to expand, and nearly 58% of respondents plan to recruit employees in the coming 30 days; this is the highest level for the employment expectations index since February 2004. This demand for manufacturing employees is increasing the number of open positions that employers are already unable to fill with skilled workers. The number of unfilled openings is increasing among both exempt and nonexempt positions.
While overall service sector employment dipped slightly in March, total vacancies and employment expectations rose sharply. The jump in vacant positions was for exempt or salaried, workers. In addition, nearly 58% of employers have plans to hire in the coming 30 days. Employers are finding it increasingly difficulty to recruit skilled workers; however, there appears to be little pressure yet to increase new-hire compensation.
The SHRM/Rutgers LINE data are collected through a survey of human resource executives at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service sector firms. The SHRM/Rutgers LINE is a weighted average of five component indexes—employment, vacancies, recruiting difficulty, new-hire compensation and employment expectations. All data are reported using diffusion indexes. A copy of the March report and answers to frequently asked questions can be found online.