Realistic job forecasts are hard to separate out from the doom and gloom in today's headlines. But here are a few economic and job forecasts, observations and predictions by knowledgeable and credible people and organizations. They will help you cut through the clutter.

Three Credible Assessments

"Although this recession is likely to be long and deep, recessions are a necessary correction in a market economy. Inevitably, downturns are followed by long periods of expansion - the U.S. economy has grown 80% of the time during the last 50 years - and this cycle will be no different, with growth returning in 2009". This according to Dr. Tucker Hart Adams, Chief Economist for U.S. Bank. (I've heard Dr. Adams speak in person and followed her forecasts for years. She is right far more often than she is wrong.)

"The April (2008) employment release reported 232,000 job losses in the first quarter with 1.1 million more people unemployed than a year earlier and 4.9 million people working part-time because they were unable to find full-time jobs, up 629,000 in the last year. We have raised our unemployment rate forecast to 5.4%". (Delicate Balance 2008, The Adams Group Forecast Update.)

"Plans for hiring are tracking below last year's projections but point to continued job creation. Thirty-two percent (of private sector companies) plan to add full-time permanent employees in 2008, down from 40% who planned to do so in 2007. Employers are taking caution, anticipating the advent of a slower, but still steady hiring environment". (Survey of 3,016 hiring managers in private sector companies conducted year-end 2007 by Harris International for CareerBuilder.)

Your major takeaway from the above job forecasts is that while growth is slowing, organizations are hiring. You just need to know where to target your search.

Regional, Industry and Job Level
Employment Outlooks

Continuing with the Harris Interactive Survey results:

    By region. Employment expansion is expected to remain strongest in the South and West. The northeast lags by about five percentage points and the Midwest lags by three more percentage points. Employers in the Midwest are projecting the highest number of staff decreases at nine percent, followed by eight percent in the South, seven percent in the Northeast and six percent in the West.

    By industry. Steady job creation in Professional and Business Services and Information Technology is expected to continue through 2008. Forty-five percent of employers in these sectors plan to add full-time permanent employees, followed by 37% in Transportation and Utilities, 34% in Financial Services and 32% in Hospitality. Healthcare and Retail expect to expand staffs at 28% each.

    By job level. Forty-five percent of employers plan to hire professional and technical staff members. Fifteen percent plan to hire for administrative/clerical positions. Nine percent will be hiring for management positions (team leaders, directors, vice presidents and executives).

Why This Information is Important?

Use these economic and job forecasts to help assess your risk of being caught in a layoff scenario. If you are laid off, use the information to help identify industries to target during your job search.

During this troublesome economic period, you can never have too much information!