We're halfway through 2011 and many job seekers are wondering what the state of the job market is. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases employment figures each month, the data can be informative but still doesn't answer the questions a lot of people have: Who's hiring? What are my chances of finding a job? Where should I be looking?
One way to get answers is to just ask employers. Since you probably won't get a response if you call an HR department and ask, "So, what are your hiring plans for the rest of the year?" We did the asking for you, and some of the results are promising.
For a reminder of what employers expected 2011 to be like, you can look at the 2011 Job Forecast as well as the Second Quarter Forecast. What we found then was that employers expected this year to be better than the last few, and this latest survey indicates that they were right.
As we pointed out in June, job cuts are down this year, online postings are up, and manufacturing has grown for 22 consecutive quarters. Plus, more states have an improving job market than those that have worsening ones. In other words, despite some occasional setbacks and slow growth, the overall job situation is better than it has been and seems to be heading for more improvement. The latest results from the 2011 Midyear Job Forecast echo those sentiments.
Here's some of the good news we found:
- 47 percent of employers plan to hire new employees between now and year's end.
- Actual hiring exceeded expectations for eight quarters in a row.
- 50 percent of employers say that there is a shortage of skills within their organization, which is good because it means they need qualified job seekers to apply for their positions.
Here's a glimpse of employers' hiring plans:
- 26 percent of employers plan to add full-time, permanent employees in the third quarter of 2011.
- 35 percent of employers are hiring full-time, permanent employees (up from 28 percent in 2010).
- 15 percent of employers are hiring part-time employees (the same as 2010).
- 12 percent of employers are hiring contract or temporary employees (up from 9 percent in 2010).
Where should you look for a job?
- The biggest shortages of skilled workers are in information technology, customer service and communications.
- The South expects the most hiring in the third quarter, with 38 percent hiring full-time, permanent employees, but the other regions aren't far behind.
- The areas where hiring managers expect to focus on hiring are customer service, information technology, and sales.
Ultimately what the survey tells us is that we can expect a promising second half to 2011, especially compared to last year. And if history is any indicator, employers are being cautious about broadcasting their hiring plans. They've consistently hired in greater numbers than they anticipated, so we could be in for two quarters of strong hiring and happy job seekers.