No Slowdown in U.S. Hiring in December 2018, According to iCIMS’ Monthly Hiring Indicator

Hiring continued to post healthy gains in December 2018, with new hires rising 1.3 percent (from an index value of 127 to 129) and job openings increased by 1.5 percent (from an index value of 140 to 142), on a seasonally adjusted basis in the U.S., according to the Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI), a leading economic indicator published by iCIMS, a leading provider of talent acquisition software.

The MHI is based on iCIMS data, which measures recruiter activity with its database of more than 75 million applications and four million hires per year by more than 4,000 employers. After netting out layoffs, quits, and other separations, hiring figures translate directly into payroll growth, and openings translate into future hires.

December 2018 Report Highlights Include:

  • Employer confidence was resilient in the face of December’s financial market turmoil. After adjusting for some typical seasonal declines, new hires and new openings reached new highs among the high-volume hiring companies prevalent among iCIMS’ clients.
  • Manufacturing saw stronger growth in hiring than other sectors, suggesting there was no direct impact from tariffs and trade tensions. How long these dynamics can last remains to be seen.
  • In contrast, the financial services sector had a weak December, perhaps reflecting a loss of business confidence in the face of slowing housing markets and volatile financial markets. New openings in that sector declined a seasonally adjusted 12 percent and new hires declined 2 percent. The decline in new openings could weigh on hiring and payroll growth in that industry for the next several months.
  • Retailers remained optimistic about the U.S. consumer amid their strong holiday sales. Both new hires and new openings declined by an average amount or less, before seasonal adjustments.

“Employer demand for new talent remains robust, and for the time being, they are likely to remain hard-pressed to fill positions,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS. “It’s a tricky time to hire, when growth could revert to its plodding but still-decent pre-2017 pace, or we could find ourselves facing a serious slowdown late in 2019. To avoid being wrong-footed, employers need to monitor how financial conditions and U.S. trade disputes evolve. A new year rarely starts off with so much riding on the first couple of months.”


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 one 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