More than half (55%) of U.S. companies surveyed last month plan to hire new workers in 2019, up from 46% who had 2018 hiring plans at this time last year. Nearly 4% of respondents to the Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey said they had been holding off new hiring but that they expect to increase hiring in 2019.
The outplacement firm surveyed 150 U.S. companies across all U.S. industries. Only 9% of companies said that low demand and economic uncertainty would tamp down hiring plans for next year, far less than the 24% who feared both a year ago.
Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, commented:
Companies are currently locked in a war for talent. With the market at near full employment and companies making plans to expand or invest in technologies requiring workers with new or differing skill sets, it’s no wonder the hiring outlook is so positive.
Regarding the economy overall, 63% of employers think it is stronger now than it was a year ago, and another 26% think the economy is on par with last year. In last year’s survey only about 48% thought the economy was stronger than it had been a year earlier and 49% said it was about equal to the economy at the end of 2016.
Given the recent downturn in the equities markets and the plunging price of crude oil, there are probably many more downbeat than upbeat assessments of the year ahead. Challenger acknowledges that seeming disconnect:
Some indicators suggest a coming downturn, but at the moment, companies are looking to get staffing levels to a place where they can fully capitalize on the strong economy.
As more than one economist has pointed out time and again, “The stock market is not the economy.” And that’s likely a part of what we see now with concern over rising interest rates and a continuing, if momentarily peaceful, trade war.
The Challenger, Gray report also noted five “hot industries” for 2019:
Top jobs: Software Developers, Mobile App Developers, Data Architects
Average Salaries: $100,000 to $145,000
Top Jobs: Home Health and Personal Care Aides, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Medical Assistants
Average Salaries: $25,000 to $110,000
Top Jobs: Market Research Analysts, Financial Managers, Management Analysts, Business Intelligence Analysts
Average Salaries: $63,500 to $125,000
Top Jobs: Petroleum Engineers, Solar Photovoltaic Installers, Wind Turbine Service Technicians
Average Salaries: $39,490 to $128,000
Top Jobs: Statisticians, Mathematicians
Average Salaries: $84,060-$103,010