Hiring Chesco: Optimistic Hiring Outlook Signals Potential for Unique Recession

In a recent study, 57 percent of American companies indicate they will forge ahead with hiring despite a looming recession, highlighting a stark departure from the Great Recession of 2008 when unemployment hit 10 percent.

This is according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

As consumer sentiment fades along with CEO confidence, just more than half (51 percent) of U.S. companies feel the next recession will happen within the next year. However, around one in 10 (12 percent) are optimistic that there will not be another recession.

Looking to the future, if a recession were to occur soon, more than two in five businesses (44 percent) feel their company won’t survive much longer. Service industries are more likely than professional services and manufacturing industries to say their company won’t be able to survive a recession (50 percent vs. 40 percent and 34 percent).

The impact of this potential recession could extend beyond the company in general. Sixty-four percent of businesses feel it would have a major/moderate impact on the overall business and the company’s hiring/recruitment needs (61 percent).

But companies don’t appear poised to pump the brakes on hiring like in previous recessions as 30 percent will continue hiring but cut back on the volume of workers, and 27 percent anticipate extending offers as planned.

For businesses that expect to continue hiring as planned if a recession were to happen (27 percent), 89 percent of those will be full-time positions, 30 percent part-time, and 27 percent seasonal, temporary, or contract. This will include recent college grads (61 percent), vocational/career tech grads (45 percent), and college students (43 percent).

In both New Jersey and Florida, Express franchise owners Mike Nolfo and Mike Brady, respectively, say from what their clients are experiencing, a recession is already here.

“I feel like we are actually in a recession right now, but nothing is ‘official’ yet,” Nolfo said. “There is pessimism with the overall economy and clients are having a lot of trouble producing and transporting products right now. Labor and supply chain issues are huge right now.”

Brady predicts that with rising costs across the board, he believes more industries will continue to slow down as evidenced by a decline in new home construction in Florida.

“I think by this fall, we will be in a full-blown recession,” he added.

A recession’s impact would vary by industry and demand, Nolfo said.

“We have several food manufacturers that should not be as affected by a downturn because their product is always essential,” he said. “But we also have a lighting company in our region that produces luxury/high-end lighting fixtures for commercial buildings. In the past during a recession, this business would be greatly affected due to a high price-point and lack of new commercial construction.”

While each recession historically involves a period of high unemployment, a shortage of available workers is one of the main factors propelling the country toward a recession.

“These next few months are going to be interesting because usually in a recession, companies lay off employees because of the economic downturn,” Nolfo said. “Direct hire staffing would slow down, and contract staffing would increase due to the uncertainty. However, right now, the labor market is one of the reasons why we are having a recession. Companies are already at bare-bones staffing levels, and you can’t lay off employees if you don’t have employees to lay off.”

Facing financial insecurity is a good opportunity for both job seekers and businesses to consider a contingent workforce.

“Using this flexible staffing option enables a company to control costs by adapting staff needs daily to the demand of their business,” said Stephanie Miller, Express Employment International Director of Talent and Acquisition. “While contingent work has long been referred to as ‘temporary,’ many companies and job seekers have established long-term employment relationships because of the initial arrangement.”

Navigating this time of uncertainty, Miller advises employees to assess their current employment situation at a macro level.

“Considering company culture, growth opportunity, business longevity, and stability are as important as pay and benefits,” she said. “Before a recession occurs, job seekers need to position themselves with the right company. This will be the key to success in the right career opportunity.”

Increasing chatter around the possibility of a recession can be beneficial for workers and businesses to allow them time to prepare, according to Express Employment International CEO Bill Stoller.

“Predictions surrounding the length and impact of a recession vary widely, reinforcing the unusual hiring circumstances absent from previous economic slowdowns,” he said. “No matter the conditions, it’s wise to plan now for a likely recession ahead.”

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between May 3 and May 23, 2022 and among 1,003 U.S. hiring decision-makers (defined as adults ages 18+ in the U.S. who are employed full-time or self-employed, work at companies with more than one employee, and have full/significant involvement in hiring decisions at their company). Data were weighted where necessary by company size to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

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If you would like to arrange for an interview with Maria O’Connell, call 484-329-7930.

Express Employment Professionals, the sponsor of VISTA Today’s Hiring Chesco, is in the business of people. From job seekers to client companies, Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Its international network of franchises offers localized staffing solutions to the communities they serve across the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, employing 526,000 people globally in 2020. Learn more.

The Chester County – Main Line, PA Express office is located at 215 Lancaster Avenue and serves the Greater Philadelphia area. Local businesses and applicants are encouraged to stop by, visit the website, or call 484-329-7930.

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