July Job Market Outlook Appears Strong For Manufacturing And Services Sectors

Employers plan to expand workforce, but still having problems finding skilled workers

July should be another strong month for job seekers, with more than 58% of employers from both the manufacturing and the services sectors planning to expand employment, according to the July report of the 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.

For the manufacturing sector, the employment expectations for July, while lower than June, remain strong and are substantially better than in July 2005. LINE’s additional measures reinforce the fact that the demand for workers is increasingly strong. HR professionals say they continue to have more vacant positions for both exempt and nonexempt staff, but are having a difficult time finding and recruiting workers with the necessary skills.

Despite this shortage of skilled workers, there’s been very little pressure to increase new-hire compensation. The large number of vacant positions and strong need for skilled employees do not appear to be having any impact on new-hire compensation.

For the service sector, 58% of employers plan to expand their workforce over the next five weeks. This number is down from 66% in June, but continues to reflect a strong expansionary job market. Nearly a third of employers reported increases in the number of vacant positions they are actively trying to fill, and nearly 21% indicated that is was increasingly difficult to recruit skilled workers — a five percentage point jump from June.

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