Job Front: Hiring outlook positive for early 2012 in Sacramento region
By Darrell Smith
The Sacramento Bee Published: Monday, Dec. 26, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 5B
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Christmas is in the books, but area employers say they expect the cheer to stretch into the New Year.
Nearly six in 10 local employers polled – 58 percent – say they expect to hire during the first three months of 2012, in the latest survey of employment trends by Sacramento staffing firm Pacific Staffing. That's a 12 percent increase over the first quarter of 2010 and a seven percent rise from first quarter 2011.
It's another potential sign of good news on the heels of the latest state and regional jobs reports.
Sacramento's November jobless rate fell to 10.9 percent on strong holiday hiring, the state's Employment Development Department reported last week, its lowest level since May 2009. A year ago, it was logged at 12.8 percent.
California's November unemployment rate was 11.3 percent.
"Sacramento was in the depths of recession, but hiring in Sacramento is on an upturn," said local market analyst Rick Reed, who conducts the quarterly survey for Pacific Staffing. Employers were polled between Nov. 21 and Dec. 14.
Turn the calendar back to first quarter 2009 and the picture was much more bleak. Recession-whipped employers were shedding employees and seeking shelter from the economic storm.
Half of the firms surveyed for the 2009 report planned to freeze hiring. Twenty percent were readying layoff notices. Some firms planned to call it quits altogether.
But in the new report, just two firms expected to lay off workers in the first quarter, Pacific Staffing reported.
The areas with the most activity, Reed said, were in technology, health care, customer service and sales.
The latter owes in part to "the evolving nature of Sacramento's business base," Reed said, with more call and service centers making the region home; and sales demand created by a recovering auto industry.
"There's a need for sales (staff) in the auto industry," Reed said. "The industry is recovering quite nicely and auto is gaining real traction."
Another glimmer of hope in the New Year: for the second straight quarter, nearly a third of companies polled said they plan to hire.
"This is a positive trend," Reed said. "Demand is maintaining."