It's time to get your resumes updated. Not only has the unemployment rate fallen to 8.8 percent, its lowest level in two years, but a new survey from CareerBuilder and USA Today suggests that more hiring is on the way, especially among large companies and those in the Western part of the country. According to the 2,800 hiring managers who participated in the survey, here's what the employment picture looks like:
- The number of employers who hired full-time permanent workers in the first quarter is the highest in three years. Some 28 percent of employers said they'd done so, marking the seventh straight quarter of growth in the number of employers hiring.
- Employers are hiring at a rate that exceeds their own expectations. At the end of last year, just 23 percent of employers said they planned to hire at the beginning of this year. The fact that 28 percent who actually did so shows that employers are taking on more people that they thought they would.
- Nearly one-third of employers plan to hire in the next three months. Some 28 percent of employers said they would hire in the next quarter. That's a pretty solid number, but since employers have been underestimating their needs lately, the final number could well turn out to be higher.
- Layoffs decrease. Some 10 percent of employers say they've laid people off in the past three months, compared to 12 percent last year. Only six percent say they're going to reduce the size of their staff next quarter.
- Large companies are more likely to say they're about to hire than small ones. That's unexpected, since small companies are the ones that create the most new job growth. They're also usually the first to hire coming out of a recession, because once the demand for workers heats up--as may be happening now--small companies have a hard time competing with big ones for the best employees.
- Workers sense opportunity. One-third of employers say they're worried about losing top talent as the economy improves. Some 14 percent say this has already started to happen.
- The West is booming. (Relatively). Some 33 percent of employers in the West say they're going to increase headcount, compared to 28 percent in the Northeast, 27 percent in the Midwest and 24 percent in the South.
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Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and consultant. Follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/weisul.