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Hiring in March Declined Amid Sharp Shift in the Economic Outlook

HOLMDEL, N.J. [April 2, 2020] – Employers felt the impact of COVID-19 in March, the month in which most businesses went fully remote and many employers were forced to lay off or furlough employees, close or modify storefronts, or change the composition of the positions they were hiring for. U.S. hiring dropped 5.3% before seasonal adjustments and 13.7% after, according to iCIMS’ Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI). Job openings were also down, but the dip was less significant, posting a 0.6% decrease before seasonal adjustments and 3.3% after.

The MHI is a leading economic indicator published by iCIMS, drawing upon its database of more than 75 million applications, 4 million hires and 3 million jobs each year. New hires translate directly into payroll growth, after netting out departures, layoffs and other separations.

“Even in a recession, hiring doesn’t come to a halt,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS. “We are close to maximum uncertainty about the recovery, so business leaders should prepare to manage through both the downside and the upside scenarios. Importantly, that includes opportunities to innovate as we all adjust to a changed environment, as many employers shift to a remote work environment and recruit, hire and train new employees virtually.”

March 2020 U.S. New Hires and Job Openings Highlights:

  • Most sectors that iCIMS tracks saw drops in hiring before seasonal adjustments, except a small pocket of growth (0.6%) in manufacturing for the second consecutive month, as domestic manufacturers responded to shifts in consumer demand, as well as supply-chain disruptions.
  • The professional & business services sector still saw a gain in new job openings: a 4.2% increase before seasonal adjustments and 2.3% after. Retail trade also saw a 13.5% jump in new openings before adjusting for seasonality.
  • Education & health services struggled again to fill front-line roles in March, with a non-seasonally adjusted 4.0% decline in new hires (-4.5% after seasonal adjustments), though it is expected to see growth in this sector over the next few months.
  • The New York City and Miami metropolitan areas saw the sharpest decline in hires and new job openings, as tourism and travel were rapidly put on hiatus.
    • In the New York City/Newark area, hires declined 6% before seasonal adjustments and 14% after. New openings declined 13% before seasonal adjustments and 12% after.
    • The Miami area saw hires decline 23% before seasonal adjustments and 26% after. New openings declined 15% before seasonal adjustments and 11% after.
  • Still, there were pockets of growth in the following metropolitan areas:
    • Philadelphia (26% increase before seasonal adjustments and 8.6% after)
    • Phoenix (3.4% increase before seasonal adjustments and 2.0% after)
    • Seattle (8.3% increase before seasonal adjustments)

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 nearly 6,000 customers, including 40% of the Fortune 100, that collectively employ more than 33 million people around the world.