November Signals a Slowdown in U.S. Hiring and Job Growth

HOLMDEL, N.J. [December 3, 2019] – As 2019 comes to an end, U.S. employers slowed their hiring activity and opened fewer new jobs in November, according to iCIMS’ Monthly Hiring Indicator (MHI). Before seasonal adjustments, new hires declined 14.2% and new job openings declined 14.1% – their largest monthly declines since at least 2015. After seasonal adjustments, the decline in hiring and job openings were 0.1% and 0.6%, respectively. Lower demand for workers was evident across industries, but particularly in retail trade.

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

Don’t dismiss the risk of labor market slowdown just yet, but there is a seasonal dynamic at play here,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS. A big portion of this weakness is due to shifts in the retail sector. Our data indicate that retailers were aggressive with holiday hiring – notably for technology roles – earlier in the year. They continue to adapt to the world of e-commerce via in-store deliveries and enhanced in-store experiences.”

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

  • All sectors that iCIMS tracks saw noteworthy drops in hiring and job openings, before seasonal adjustments.
  • Seasonal retail hiring was an important driver of the results. After several months of strong hiring and new job openings ahead of the holiday shopping season, the MHI indicates that retail hiring slowed sharply in November – declining by 18% before seasonal adjustments and 2% after.
  • After seasonal adjustments, the finance and business services sectors eked out modest gains in hires.
  • Regionally, hiring was most robust in the Northeast, which saw an 8% increase last month after seasonal adjustments. With the more forward-looking measure of new job openings, the South posted the best results, with a 5% gain. 

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