Economists and the Obama administration have said unemployment will rise to 10 percent this year as the economy battles its way out of recession. But there are glimmers of hope that the job market will begin to turn around in coming months.
An annual survey released Tuesday by two staffing firms says most employers are planning to hire full-time workers in the next 12 months.
The survey bucks recent employment reports that have suggested that there's not much hiring going on. With unemployment at 9.4 percent, the conventional wisdom has been that hiring will be slow to recover, and that applicants will outnumber available jobs.
"What we're finding is that employers are more optimistic today than they were three or even six months ago," says Jennifer Grasz, a spokeswoman for CareerBuilder.com. CareerBuilder.com, along with Robert Half International, sponsored the survey.
Of the 500 companies surveyed, 53 percent said they plan to add full-time jobs within the next 12 months. About 40 percent said they plan to hire part-time employees.
Grasz says candidates for jobs that require specialized skills are still getting paid premiums, even in this down economy.
Pay raises will also make a comeback, the survey said. Hiring freezes will start to thaw, and employers are starting to talk about reinstating benefits that were recently cut back.
Grasz says jobs in technology, sales and customer service will be among the first jobs available, because those help companies add or retain revenue and profit.