Staffing & Employment News

Most experts tell us that the recession starting in December 2007 ended in mid-2009 when real GDP and industrial production bottomed and then started growing again. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) business cycle committee, domestic production and employment are the primary conceptual measures of economic activity.

The committee views the payroll employment measure as the most reliable estimate of employment. Our employment recovery has been the slower in the 3 quarters following the ‘end of the recession’ than after other recent downturns. However the economy has added jobs in the last three consecutive months, a reversal of the prior 24 months of employment decreases. (First graph below from ADP)

According to Macroeconomic Advisors LLC, the GDP Index was positive each of the months in Q1 2010 and is showing an upward swing, showing a negative annualized growth only twice since mid-2009. (Second graph below from Macroeconomic Advisors)

Unsurprisingly, as we come out of the bottom of this business cycle, hiring will increase and that has already begun. The Q2 2010 U.S. Hiring Forecast shows that 23% of employers increased their full-time, permanent staff in the first quarter, up from 13% in the same period last year and up from 20 % in the fourth quarter. This is the third quarter that employers projected hiring increases.

Responses to the survey indicate that many companies are reviewing current employees in light of the upturn ahead, and more than one quarter anticipate replacing low performers with top performers in the second quarter.

The top staffing challenges are going to be 1) Competing on salary/compensation, 2) Maintaining productivity, and 3) Retaining Top Talent. Strategies for retaining your top performers include: Flexibility on work time/location; Training and Development opportunities; and Future Benefits and Performance-Based Incentives as the company’s bottom lines improve.

Recommended Further Reading:

Undoing IT Staffing and ROI Myths by Patty Azzarello

U.S. Recovery Approaches One-Year Anniversary in Good Shape May 2010 by the National Association for Business Economics

Short Takes, SI Review May 2010 by the Staffing Industry Review Magazine

Slowdown Ahead, But Not a Recession by the Economic Cycle Research Institute

Q2 2010 U.S. Hiring Forecast by and USA Today

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