SOURCE: firstPRO

May 20, 2010 08:30 ET

Healthcare Hiring Scores Big in Q1

Inside Hiring Report Shows Positive Industry Trends, 'Glimmer of Hope'

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - May 20, 2010) - Healthcare hiring during the first quarter surged nationwide and in Atlanta, according to Inside Hiring Report.

The report, a quarterly intelligence briefing on nine key industries from the recruiters of executive search and staffing firm firstPRO, outlines several promising healthcare hiring trends for last quarter:

  • Data from Staffing Industry Analysts showed the U.S. economy added 27,000 new healthcare jobs in March -- a 50 percent increase from the average monthly gain over the past 12 months.
  • In Atlanta, firstPRO's billable hours in the healthcare vertical registered the biggest percent change out of any company vertical from Q1 2009 to Q1 2010 -- a 154.8 percent increase.
  • firstPRO's hottest positions in Atlanta for healthcare during Q1 included physical therapists and pharmacists due to the continuing shortage of these skills.

Susan Zingaro, executive vice president Healthcare & Traditional Staffing, said while healthcare is less harmed in recovering economies than other industries, the industry still has been affected by less consumer spending as well as by trepidation over federal healthcare reform.

"Much of firstPRO's increase was in temp-to-hire positions -- a sign that employers are still shaky about hiring full-time workers," Zingaro said. "But the demand for healthcare professionals is obviously surging and will likely start returning to normal levels around Q3."

Healthcare Not the Only Hot Industry 

firstPRO's legal placements, which primarily cover the East Coast, increased on average 79 percent from the same quarter in 2009.

"Jobs in the legal industry appear to be coming back slowly and new unemployment claims from lawyers have almost stopped," said Richard Rice, JD, SVP, and managing partner Legal division. "Junior attorneys still faced substantial challenges last quarter, as law firms were looking for partners who could originate business. But partners with big books of portable business were very much in demand for firstPRO."

firstPRO's IT placements also registered a big increase, especially in Philadelphia. From Q1 2009 to Q1 2010, IT placements in this city increased 46 percent. Nationwide, according to Staffing Industry Analysts, 60 percent of IT staffing firms are expected to increase spending on technology in 2010 -- the biggest such expected increase of any category.

"We're moving in the right direction after a bad 2009," said Karl Bonawitz, division director IT, Philadelphia. "Hiring decisions are still highly scrutinized. But it is getting better and our pipeline looks healthy."

firstPRO CEO April Nagel said the report's results are a "glimmer of hope" in an economy that is still recovering.

"Inside Hiring Report is one firm's observations of the economy," Nagel said. "The U.S. jobless rate did increase to 9.9 percent in April and we are comparing Q1 2010 to Q1 2009 -- one of the worst quarters in recent memory. But our results, which show a small but diverse slice of the U.S. economy, do show we are without a doubt on the path to recovery."

Inside Hiring Report is released quarterly and can be seen in entirety at www.insidehiring.com/report.

About firstPRO

With annual revenues exceeding $30 million, firstPRO's executive search, professional placement and traditional staffing is now one of the largest and fastest-growing independently-owned firms in the United States. firstPRO was ranked No. 23 by Staffing Industry Analysts for U.S. Women and Minority-owned staffing firms by revenue, and named one of Inc. 5000's Fastest Growing Companies. firstPRO was also honored with the ACG Growth Award by the Association for Corporate Growth and was named a Top Business in the U.S. by diversitybusiness.com for 2009. For more information, visit www.firstproinc.com.

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