Job Prospects Remain Bleak

August 22, 2002 ( - Hiring managers and job seekers responding to a recent poll aren't painting a bright picture of this year's job market.

The survey, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and, found respondents noting little improvement thus far in 2002 – and the prospects don’t appear any better for the rest of the year.  CareerJournal is the Wall Street Journal’s executive career site.
Respondents in government (28%) and finance (28%) industries were least optimistic that the job market will improve by December, while wholesale/retail trade industries (46%), services (45%) and manufacturing (44%) were the most optimistic that the job
market would improve by the end of the year.
For the first half of 2002, 39% of HR professionals indicated that their organizations had conducted layoffs.  Much the same was true with job seekers, with 31% saying their organizations had conducted layoffs and 36% of the employees/job seekers responding
said they were unemployed. 

Tech Leads in Downsizing

The high-tech industry had the highest percentage of layoffs with two-thirds of organizations downsizing their workforce.
As for the remainder of 2002, 55% of HR professionals stated that they did not anticipate further layoffs.  For job seekers, there was much less optimism with 41% believing their organization would conduct layoffs before year’s end.

Both groups remain considerably uncertain about the next six months with 25% of HR professionals and 19% of job seekers simply stating more layoffs may occur.

The survey covered 538 human resource (HR) professionals and 591 employees/job seekers.