Glimmers of Hope


In numerous previous Herman Trend Alerts, we have discussed the tremendous influence small- and medium-size companies have on the job market in the United States. Economists tell us that up to 80 percent of job growth worldwide takes place in these types of organizations.

Two recent releases give us some hope for more job creation this year. First, we highlight a study from CBIZ Small Business Employment Index. In December, companies with fewer than 300 employees experienced employment growth of 1.54 percent, representing the largest percentage increase since June 2010.

Of the 3,099 companies surveyed, 29 percent of the respondents had added employees; on the other hand, 50.4 percent had made no changes, indicating greater employee retention and stability. In an even smaller company business survey by Intuit, employment was found to have increased in December---by 0.3 percent, or 57,000 jobs.

Compare these numbers with the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) report. Polling larger companies, SHRM's Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) report for January 2011, showed that the percentages of American companies that reporting hiring expectations in January are at three-year highs in the manufacturing and service sectors (3.0 and 1.1 percent respectively). On top of that news, layoffs are at a four-year low.

Overall, In January, for the 15th straight month, hiring is increasing in manufacturing and services on an annualized basis of 13.3 and 6.8 percent. In these numbers, we see glimmers of hope.

Happily, Manpower and CareerBuilder forecast employment gains in the US during 2011; however no informed person is expecting a quick or dramatic reversal. The depth of unemployment is serious and it will take us years to dig out of this hole.

On the international stage, we still see the numbers looking better than the US, with Asia and South America leading the way. The phenomenal GDP growth we are seeing in China, India, Qatar, and Singapore will fuel the rise of the Middle Class, an important event for producers throughout the world and the global economy. In the US, we will also see a continued acceleration in home-shoring, as manufacturers seek higher quality and lower transportation costs.


Most employers are unprepared. The recovery will bring a new set of challenges for employers that have been in prolonged contracted mode. They will need more skilled workers or will need now to begin to upskill their current staff.

What would happen if 25% of your top performers left in the next year? According to a recent study from The Corporate Executive Board, that may well happen to you! Turnover costs A LOT, especially when you lose top performers, and it comes right off the bottom line.

Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional speaker. Archived editions are posted at



Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist concentrating on workforce and workplace trends. Joyce is President and CEO of The Herman Group, a firm serving a wide range corporate, trade association and governmental clients on an international basis.

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