The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that the pace of hiring for manufacturers should increase slightly in May. The monthly Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) report from SHRM says that 52.3 percent of manufacturers plan to increase their hiring in May, up from 50.3 percent in April and 46.6 percent one year ago. With that said, there were also more manufacturers who plan to reduce their employment, 9.4 percent now versus 6.1 percent last year.
The net percentage of new hiring in the manufacturing sector has risen from 37.8 percent in April to 42.9 percent in May, suggesting a slight pickup in activity this month. That figure is also 2.4 percentage points higher than one year ago.
One factor which is challenging employment is the difficulty to attract qualified workers, something that continues to confront manufacturing businesses. In this survey, 15.1 percent of manufacturing respondents said that it was more difficult to recruit new employees, with 3.2 percent saying that it was less difficult. At the same time, 8.7 percent of manufacturers were increasing their compensation for new workers, essentially the same pace as last year.
The SHRM survey is one of the few that forecast employment one month ahead. In the meantime, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will report national employment data tomorrow. The consensus estimate is for an increase roughly 150,000 nonfarm payroll workers in April, with manufacturing employment growing very slowly.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.