Companies large and small are expected to increase hiring next year. Careerbuilder reports in its annual survey that, “Employers expect to add new jobs in the New Year, but are waiting to see how the economy shapes up before turning up the volume on hiring.” That is not much of an endorsement of an employment surge, but after four lean years of job creation, it is something.
Two notable things about the Careerbuilder data are that job additions are likely to come in the second half of 2012, and 59% of companies surveyed plan to make no employment changes at all. Obviously, any negative event that affects the economy could turn the forecast into a mirage.
Careerbuilder does not gather data on the most vulnerable portion of the jobs market. Public sector jobs will disappear throughout all of next year. The process began as tax bases eroded. Austerity measures at every level of government will cause the process to accelerate. Most employment information announced in the past quarter shows that private sector job additions barely make up for layoffs in the public sector.
Forecasts about the jobs market in 2012, particularly those that are most optimistic, usually fail to take the public sector problem into account. That problem, added to any modest bump in economic growth, could push unemployment higher again next year.
Methodology: The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,023 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, nongovernment) between November 9 and December 5, 2011.
Douglas A. McIntyre