“Every one of our major employment indicators showed significant declines compared with summer and now stand at their lowest levels since the survey began eight years ago.” Jerry Bernhart, owner of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, said in a news release.
Thirty-one percent of companies surveyed said they plan to add to their head count during the current quarter, down sharply from 47% last quarter. Hiring freezes spiked to 34%, compared with 20% during the third quarter.
The percentage of companies planning layoffs rose to 17%, up from 12% last quarter.
A total of 110 companies responded to the survey, which was e-mailed in mid-September.