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Sounding Board: What trends are you seeing in hiring?

H. Britt Landrum
H. Britt Landrum Jr.
[Photo: John C. Lockman]

H. Britt Landrum Jr.
President/CEO
Landrum Human Resources Cos.
Pensacola

The number of employees year-over-year has been gradually increasing since last September. Everything else is dropping: Average wage per employee is down; the amount of bonuses paid is down; commissions are down; overtime wages are down. It’s definitely a jobless recovery we are going through, but on the other hand it is improving. ... We didn’t experience a lot of increase in (health insurance) costs.”

Mark Lettelleir
Mark Lettelleir
[Photo: Mark Wemple]

Mark Lettelleir
President/CEO
Modern Business Associates
St. Petersburg

We’re starting to see people hire, but it’s not anywhere near (back to) the level where they ... downsized, right-sized — whatever you want to call it. I’ve heard it from a number of my clients — they’re able to do as much or more with less than they ever have before. ... Employees are in many cases the largest expense of any organization, not only their salary or hourly wage but the benefit side — matching Social Security, federal unemployment, state unemployment, covering them on workers’ comp, health insurance. They’re obviously going up. Workers’ comp rates are starting to creep back up. Unemployment (taxes) will continually increase over the next few years. We owe so much money to the federal government, we’re going to have to pay it back. Everybody is going to continue to try to manage the cost (of health benefits) and put more of the onus on the individual.”

Frank Crum
Frank Crum

Frank Crum
CEO
FrankCrum
Clearwater

We see a strong trend in hiring. It was up last year by over 10%, and it’s up so far this year about 10%. The sectors I see the strongest are the service sectors like restaurant and hotels. I see stuff like roofing and repairs of homes is up, and we also do payrolls for some staffing companies and it appears the staffing business is up. ... As far as benefits, they’ve gone up each of the last two or three years by 10% or more.”

Jay Starkman
Jay Starkman

Jay Starkman
CEO
Engage PEO
Fort Lauderdale

You are seeing what I would best describe as tentative hiring. In service industries, we are seeing a little bit more of an uptick; healthcare always. Health care costs continue to rise, and as a result health care insurance continues to go up. Unemployment taxes. In just about every aspect of having employees, the costs are going up and not just a little.”

Mark Perlberg
Mark Perlberg

Mark Perlberg
CEO
Oasis Outsourcing
Boca Raton

“It’s definitely a partial rebound from where we were. The reason I would characterize the improvement as somewhat modest is we’re also not seeing a robust level of hiring, big expansion, great confidence in the future. ... You’re still seeing a fairly significant increase in unemployment costs. That trust fund is significantly underfunded.”