Managerial hiring dipped in November, which could mark a beginning of stagnant white-collar hiring in the months ahead, according to the latest Careercast.com/JobSerf Employment Index. The Index lost 8.1 points in the month to 100.3, which is 3.2 points below November 2011, and 5.6 below two years ago.
After unexpected positive hiring gains in recent months, including in October, the downturn in November is disappointing, says JobSerf CEO Jay Martin.
"Usually November's Index number is higher than October's, so we are concerned that overall hiring could be starting to slow down,” Martin explains.
The impact of Hurricane Sandy was not seen in November’s Northeast managerial hiring activity, though its impact may just be delayed. The devastating natural disaster and the looming fiscal cliff in Congress are two factors Martin credits for a murky forecast. The fiscal cliff is the nickname economists have given the expiration of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on Dec. 31, which would initiate automatic large scale budget cuts and tax hikes.
"The fiscal cliff is on everyone's mind, and uncertainty is actually worse for hiring than most bad news,” Martin says.
Still, the index score is more than five points higher than where it began 2012, and well above pre-recession figures, so Congressional agreement that averts the fiscal cliff could help hiring activity rebound.
How do we determine these numbers?
The CareerCast.com/JobSerf Employment Index calculates the number of available managerial job openings each month by surveying wide range of local and national job boards across the U.S, with all results hand-counted and checked for duplication by a team of researchers. What does an overall Index score of 100.3 for November 2012 mean? The Index measures employment activity against a base score of 100, which represents the volume of job openings during the same period in 2008. A score higher than 100 means that there are more available jobs than in 2008, while one below 100 means that job seekers now have fewer opportunities available. Over the past 55 months, the CareerCast.com/JobSerf Index is higher at 100.3 than in November 2008.