Growth in U.S. New Hires and Openings Slowed in February

HOLMDEL, N.J. [March 5, 2019] – Following two strong months for job growth, in February, U.S. employers’ hiring declined somewhat more than usual. Before seasonal adjustments, new hires declined 8.5 percent and new job openings declined 7.4 percent, according to iCIMS’ Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI). Adjusting for the typical February decline, hires were down less than one percent and openings rose about a half a percent. The MHI is a leading economic indicator published by iCIMS, drawing upon its database of more than 75 million applications and 4 million hires each year. Hires translate into payroll growth, after netting out departures, layoffs and other separations.

While the U.S. labor market remains healthy, there were pockets of weakness in local hiring, specifically in the professional and business services sector in Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C. metro areas. Smoothing out the monthly volatility with three-month averages shows the divergence between hires and openings. 

February 2019 U.S. New Hires and Openings Highlights:

    • Hires in the professional and business services sector declined 4.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.
    • Employment in manufacturing remained resilient in the face of trade tensions, with a nearly 7 percent increase in openings on a seasonally adjusted basis.
    • Hires in the Atlanta and New York metro areas declined 8 percent and 7.5 percent even after adjusting for the seasonal effects.

“This is a sign of things to come. Despite mixed signals from other areas of the U.S. economy, the labor market remains a relatively bright spot. As the U.S. economy slows in the first quarter, we are likely to see pockets of weakness in hiring data show up with increasing frequency,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS.

About the iCIMS Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI) Methodology: 

The iCIMS Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI) measures job openings and new hires, based on iCIMS system data, which is generated by user activity within our platform. iCIMS processes more than 1 million hires per quarter and 75 million applications per year. While iCIMS supports employers across the globe, the MHI is based on U.S. hiring activity only. The figures present both indexes of hiring activity and their month-over-month percentage change, using a fixed panel of customers. To facilitate comparison with benchmark data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, iCIMS publishes its indexes both with and without seasonal adjustments. Data from the MHI has been referenced by Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business and NBC. To learn more about iCIMS’ MHI, visit iCIMS Hiring Insights, where the latest data and details on the methodology are both available for download.

About iCIMS

iCIMS is the talent cloud company that empowers organizations to attract, engage, hire, and advance the right talent that builds a diverse, winning workforce. iCIMS accelerates transformation for a community of approximately 4,500 customers, including nearly half of the Fortune 100, that employ more than 35 million people worldwide. For more information, visit