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Survey Finds 5.9% Growth in Big Firms' Staffs

October 26, 2000|Lisa Girion

Work forces at major U.S. firms increased by an average of 5.9% for the year ending in June, up from the 5% growth rate in the previous 12 months, said the American Management Assn.'s annual staffing survey. Turnover rates averaged 19%, up from 16.9% the previous year, and 76% of human resources managers surveyed reported that skilled candidates were scarce, compared with 66% the year before and 52% in 1997. Despite the tight job market, 77.8% of the 1,441 surveyed firms created positions and 48.2% cut jobs, down from 49.6% the year before. Downsizing--a net reduction in the work force--dropped to 21.2% from 24.1% the previous year, and 36% of the firms reported concurrent hiring and firing, the highest level since the survey began 13 years ago. The results suggest companies have learned that downsizing and job cuts alone don't automatically lead to increased profits, said Eric Rolfe Greenberg, AMA's director of management studies. Of the companies reporting job elimination, only 40% actually downsized. The firms on average created four new jobs for each one they cut, and 50% said they planned to add jobs within the next year, up from 48.2% a year ago. One-fifth said they anticipated job cuts.

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