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See How Your Organization Stacks Up: Download Your Free Q2 2010 Hiring Forecast Today

Job seekers, employers, analysts and any other person who’s paid attention to the news for the last two years has been looking for signs that the economy has a brighter future. Well, optimists, we might have what you’re looking for. Today CareerBuilder and USA Today released their quarterly job forecast, and for the third consecutive quarter more employers expect to increase headcount in the next three months, while fewer will cut staff. I think that deserves a “Yeah!”

Looking back at the first quarter (January, February and march) of 2010, here’s what the nationwide survey of employers found:

  • 23 percent of employers increased full-time, permanent staff, which is a welcome increase from 13 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
  • 12 percent decreased headcount, which sounds grim until you remember that the figure was 26 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
  • 64 percent didn’t change their number of full-time, permanent employees. (At least this means a majority of employers didn’t make staff cuts.)

Looking ahead to the second quarter (April, May and June), you can’t help but be optimistic that the situation is improving:

  • 23 percent of employers intend to add full-time, permanent employees.
  • Only 8 percent plan to decrease headcount.
  • 64 percent don’t plan to change their headcount, and 6 percent haven’t decided yet.
  • In the second quarter of 2009, 18 percent hired full-time, permanent staff and 17 percent decreased staff. If this year’s projections hold true, then the situation is an improvement over last year’s.

What else is happening in the second quarter of 2010?

  • Compensation: 40 percent of employers don’t plan to change salary levels. But 37 percent do expect to give increases of 3 percent or less, while 13 percent plan to give raises ranging from 4 to 10 percent. People lucky enough to work for a certain 2 percent of employers will receive raises of 11 percent or more. Only 4 percent of employers will decrease salaries.
  • Location: Employers in the Northeast (26 percent) and West (25 percent) plan to hire full-time, permanent workers in the second quarter. The South and Midwest aren’t too far behind their figures, with 21 percent and 20 percent respectively.
  • Contract workers: Some employers are apprehensive about ramping up their hiring too quickly, which might explain why 25 percent of employers will use contract workers or freelancers in the second quarter. For those workers looking for long-term employment, the good news is that 13 percent of these employers plan to hire these workers on a permanent basis.
  • Interns: If you’re looking to get your foot in the door somewhere this quarter, an internship could be your ticket. Expect 24 percent of employers to hire interns in the coming three months because they’re valuable additions to the staff and are a way to keep costs low.
  • Social media: Social media continues to be all the rage, so use your Facebook and blog savvy to land a job. Nine percent of employers will hire new employees to focus on social media this quarter.
  • Bilingual workers:Your knowledge of a second language can come in handy on your job hunt, too, as 33 percent of employers will hire bilingual candidates this quarter. Given the choice between two equally qualified candidates, 50 percent of employers say they will pick the bilingual one. So don’t be afraid to list that skill on your résumé.

The forecast has even more good news in it, so download the full report here.

Anthony Balderrama

About Anthony Balderrama

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job searches and workplace issues, which means he has written the word “résumé” approximately 2 million times. He currently lives in Chicago but easily gives away his Dallas roots by frequently saying “howdy” and “y’all” without any irony.
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