By Rachel Gottfriend
Arizona Daily Wildcat, U. Arizona
(UWIRE)—The economy is looking up as more U.S. employers expect to grow this year.
One in three companies predicts renewed growth and increased hiring in 2012, according to a survey done by Right Management. This is a large increase from last year, when only one in five U.S. employers reported feeling confident about growth or hiring.
Demand in all industries is going up with the economy. Right Management surveyed senior executives at 631 organizations across the U.S. representing the government, nonprofit, public, and private sectors. Thirty-six percent of these companies said 2012 will be a year of growth and recovery, marked by increased hiring and new talent development initiatives; 55% said it will be similar to 2011 with sluggish hiring and postponed HR initiatives; and 11% said it will be a year of stagnation with more cutbacks and restructurings.
"(Hiring is increasing) because the economy is improving," said Marshall J. Vest, U. Arizona Economic and Business Research Center director. "When the economy wasn't doing well, companies had been cautious to control their costs and of course they ended up laying off a lot of people and reducing hours."
Vest said that in recent months, more companies are increasing hours. There are only a limited number of hours an employee can work and this means companies need to hire if they want to expand.
Vest also said demand in all industries is going up with the economy. More income means more demand.
"It would appear at this point that economic recovery is well in place," Vest said.
At the end of 2011, Arizona had 2,415,000 nonfarm jobs. This was up 1.1% from December 2010, when there were 2,387,800 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, there are still some industries that continue to suffer. The pace of hiring for some health-care-related jobs is slowing because hospitals and other providers feel the effects of recent cuts to Arizona's Medicare system, or Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Government jobs are also suffering, with the number of positions expected to drop 1.4% in 2012.
Hiring is different at a university than at a company, as it is in the department level, and is mainly based on grants or funds in that department, said Leslie Porter, UA human resources consulting and talent management director.
Thirty-six percent of companies said 2012 will be a year of growth and recovery. "That is a difficult question to answer because the whole hiring process is at the (department) level," Porter said. "It's hard for us to know when a department is going to start hiring more people. Some departments have people leaving and retiring. Some departments rely on state funding, while others are more dependent."
Porter said people hear things about cuts and falsely assume that the university is not hiring, but the university is still one of the state's biggest employers. Human Resources currently has 394 jobs posted on the Career Track website.
Susan Miller-Pinhey, UA Career Services senior marketing and special events coordinator, said that although the improvement is slow, she is definitely seeing more employers hiring more UA graduates this year than previous years. There were about a dozen more companies at this year's UA Career Days.