Best News in Three Years: Employers on Hiring High

employers hiring You couldn't say that employers are on a hiring spree, but employers hired more last quarter than in any other quarter for the past three years, and they expect to hold that same pace through 2011. To be specific, nearly three-in-ten employers (28 percent) reported they hired full-time, permanent employees in the first quarter of 2011, the highest since the first quarter of 2008.

The momentum is expected to continue, with the same amount of employers planning to add full-time, permanent positions in the second quarter, according to CareerBuilder and USA TODAY's latest job forecast.

"While employers are keeping a close eye on world events, their confidence levels in regard to recruitment have remained intact," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. "Job listings on CareerBuilder are up across all categories, from healthcare and technology to manufacturing. Our latest survey points to continued, measured gains over the next three months. As the nation moves toward greater financial stability, more employers are investing in talent for the long-term."

Even the bad news is better! The decrease in terms of headcount for the first quarter of 2011 was only 10 percent, an improvement from 12 percent last year. Additionally, only six percent expect to downsize their staffs in the next three months.

Regionally speaking

Hiring is even expected to pick up more in the West, which has been particularly hard hit, in the second quarter. One-third (33 percent)of hiring managers in the West expect to increase full-time, permanent headcount compared to 28 percent in the Northeast, 27 percent in the Midwest and 24 percent in the South.

Although employers in the South are less likely to add full-time, permanent employees than other regions in the second quarter, they are also less likely to downsize. Four percent of employers in the South expect to decrease staff levels compared to 6 percent in the Northeast, West and Midwest.

Size does matter

Hiring in larger organizations is also trending positive. Thirty-six percent of companies with more than 500 employees plan to add full-time, permanent staff in the second quarter, up from 30 percent last quarter.

But the real good news is that hiring among small businesses -- the major driver behind new job creation in the U.S. -- is showing signs of improvement. Twenty-three percent of companies with 500 or less employees plan to recruit full-time, permanent employees in the second quarter, up from 19 percent last quarter. And seventeen percent of companies with 50 or less employees expect to add new employees, up from 14 percent last quarter.

The survey also indicates fewer employers are planning to reduce staff levels. Five percent of companies with 500 or less employees plan to decrease full-time, permanent staff, down from 7 percent last quarter. Among employers with 50 or less employees, only 4 percent expect to decrease staffs, down from 6 percent last quarter. Seven percent of those with more than 500 employees plan to downsize, which is an improvement from 9 percent last quarter.

Next:Find More Employers That Are Hiring!

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