Most Employers Keeping Stable Late 2008 Headcount

October 1, 2008 ( - A new USA TODAY/ survey has found nearly two-thirds of U.S. employers anticipate keeping head count at current levels in the remainder of 2008.

A USA TODAY news report about the survey said 63% planned to keep stable the number of full-time permanent employees-up from 59% who said their staffing levels were unchanged in the July-September period.

One tenth of respondents predicted job cuts-down slightly from the 14% who fired workers in the third quarter.

Twenty-three percent expected to add workers in the fourth quarter, down from 25% who beefed up their workforce in the third quarter.

“Employers are maintaining a conservative approach to recruitment as they maneuver through a weaker economy that has produced its share of casualties,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of, in a news release. “Certain sectors such as IT and health care are still showing solid job growth while others struggle with reorganization, cost containment and other measures to stay afloat.”

The poll also found that:

  • In the wake of rising prices around energy, food, and health care, nearly one-in-ten workers (9%) have taken on a second job in 2008 to help make ends meet. Twenty-four percent are considering it. Some 5% of employers said their companies have required employees to take an unpaid leave of absence in the past six months as a cost-saving measure.
  • While the majority of workers said they would be open to a new job opportunity if they came across the right one, they are not actively pursuing a change in employment. Thirty-eight percent expect they will likely stay at their current jobs for at least one year while 41% plan to stay with their present employers until retirement.
  • To make themselves more marketable inside and outside of their companies, 26% of workers plan to go back to school to obtain a degree, certification, or other training.

The survey, conducted August 21 to September 9, invited 3,061 hiring managers and human resource professionals to participate.

More information about the survey is available here .