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March 31, 2011
SHRM: New-Hire Compensation Rose for 6th Month in March; Gains Remain Minimal

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that manufacturing and service-sector payrolls will expand during April, 2011 compared with 1 year ago, though large-scale job creation is not expected, a monthly survey of human resource professionals at more than 1,000 companies shows.

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SHRM’s Leading Indicators of National Employment® (LINE®) Report is the only national employment index of HR professionals’ month-ahead hiring expectations. The report shows that the number of manufacturing companies reporting plans to hire (57.6 percent) during the month of April will reach a 4-year high on an annual basis, while the percentage planning layoffs (9.1 percent) will reach a 4-year low.

The service sector also will show improvement on an annual basis, though the number of companies planning to hire (41.7 percent) in April is slightly below the 4-year high reached in 2008 (46.7 percent). The service-sector layoff rate for April hiring also will reach a 4-year low, with 4.1 percent of companies reporting plans to cut payrolls.

“This month’s findings are again somewhat mixed,” said Jennifer Schramm, manager of workplace trends and forecasting at SHRM. “The employment expectations index for both sectors remained positive, but the service-sector gains have slowed.”

Released the first Thursday of each month, the SHRM LINE Report shows that manufacturing-sector hiring will increase in April by a net of 10.6 points and service-sector hiring will increase by a net of 0.2 points.

A closer look at the net hiring for the manufacturing industry shows that a net of 48.5 percent of companies will hire in April 2011 compared with 37.9 percent a year ago—a net gain of 10.6 points.

In April 2011, service-sector hiring numbers examined more closely show that a net of 37.6 percent of HR professionals said their companies plan to hire compared with 37.4 percent a year ago—a net gain of 0.2 points.

The LINE Report provides a snapshot of anticipated hiring for the month ahead and also examines data from the previous month.

The number of HR professionals reporting increases in new-hire wages and benefits increased in March 2011 for both sectors. Compensation packages in the manufacturing sector rose 5.3 points compared with a year ago, while new-hire compensation in the service sector rose 3.7 points.

“New-hire compensation rose for the sixth consecutive month in March, but the gains remain minimal,” said Schramm.

The LINE Employment Report examines four key areas: 1) employers’ hiring expectations, 2) new-hire compensation, 3) difficulty in recruiting top-level talent, and 4) job vacancies. The LINE Report is based on a monthly survey of human resources professionals at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 private service-sector companies. Together, these two sectors make up more than 90 percent of America’s private-sector employment.

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