Survey finds that 87 percent of employers plan to hire in the next three months and half of employees see opportunities for internal career mobility

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 20, 2021 — Leading outplacement and career mobility provider Randstad RiseSmart today announced the launch of the Randstad RiseSmart Labor Market Barometer, which aggregates ten key labor market indicators using statistical computations into a single, monthly figure. The resulting value represents the pulse of the U.S. labor market.

Leveraging the latest labor market data, the April 2021 barometer figure increased 17.5 points to 106.2 from the pandemic low of 88.7 in April 2020, indicating clear signs of improvement one year after the COVID-19 pandemic first significantly impacted the labor market. For perspective, the barometer has a baseline figure of 100, marked by the initial pandemic outbreak in March 2020.

“We’re always keeping a pulse on labor market and economic conditions so that we can provide our customers and participants in career transition with strategic guidance grounded in real-time data and domain expertise. Our Labor Market Barometer provides a unique, in-depth look at the current state of the labor market and offers detailed insight into the road to recovery in the U.S.,” said Dan Davenport, CEO at Randstad RiseSmart. “Continued labor market improvement will be highly dependent on the ability to get millions of Americans back to work, especially by boosting labor participation rates in industries that have been heavily impacted throughout this crisis such as leisure, retail and hospitality.”

RiseSmart uses a principal component analysis (PCA)-based statistical model to determine the monthly barometer figure. The ten labor market indicators aggregated into this barometer provide a comprehensive view of unemployment rolls and claims, layoffs, predictive workforce reductions and hiring activity. They include:

  1. Unemployment level: number of people who are not employed, who are available for work, and those who made specific efforts to find a job during a four-week period or have been temporarily laid off.
  2. Unemployment rate: number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labor force.
  3. Temporary help services: number of employees in the temporary help services industry.
  4. Initial claims 4-WMA: number of new jobless claims filed by individuals seeking to receive unemployment benefits.
  5. ASA staffing index: weekly changes in temporary and contract employment and serves as an indicator of current economic conditions.
  6. Employment diffusion index: percentage of industries that have increased their payrolls in the last month (greater than 50 percent shows industries increased their workforce; less than 50 percent shows industries reduced their workforce).
  7. Layoffs and discharges: number of involuntary separations initiated by employers (layoffs with no intent to rehire, discharges because of eliminated positions).
  8. ISM Index percentage reporting lower volumes in services: shows if companies in the services sector plan to decrease their workforce.
  9. ISM Index percentage reporting lower volumes in manufacturing: shows if companies in the services sector plan to decrease their workforce.
  10. Google searches (unemployment topic): shows search trends on Google (in this case for unemployment related searches).

The April 2021 figure closely aligns with the findings of RiseSmart’s quarterly “Career Mobility Outlook” report, which found that 87 percent of employers plan to hire in the next three months – a positive sign of labor market recovery. The survey, which was conducted to gain additional insight from HR professionals and individual employees about the state of the labor market and economy, also found that employers (51 percent) are more optimistic about the overall U.S. economic outlook than employees (24 percent).

While the labor market is trending up, employees are still hesitant to make job changes, with only 23 percent of those surveyed indicating they are likely to move to another job internally and 17 percent indicating the same about external job opportunities. There also seems to be a disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to their outlook on internal mobility opportunities in the coming months. Specifically, the survey found that:

  • 52 percent of employees have a positive outlook on their current manager’s openness to internal mobility opportunities, while employers seem to be more optimistic about this matter (73 percent)
  • 51 percent of employees surveyed have a positive outlook on availability of internal mobility opportunities at their current organization, while employers are slightly more positive (62 percent)

“Even as the U.S. is putting economic recovery plans into place and accelerating vaccine distribution, the uncertainty around the COVID-19 crisis continues to have an impact on the American workforce,” said Davenport. “As the labor market improves, employees won’t hesitate to look elsewhere for work if they don’t see growth opportunities at their current organization. By creating a culture that prioritizes internal mobility opportunities, not only can organizations drive retention and business agility, but they can also support individuals’ long-term employability as the world of work continues to evolve. Providing career mobility to all employees is both a critical need and an opportunity that organizations should seize upon to promote workforce sustainability.”

Learn more about the Randstad RiseSmart Labor Market Barometer and Career Mobility Outlook report here.


About Randstad RiseSmart

Randstad RiseSmart is the fastest-growing outplacement and career mobility provider, and an operating company of Randstad N.V., a €20.7 billion global provider of flexible work and human resources services that helps nearly two million candidates find meaningful work every year. Our outplacement, career development, redeployment and contemporary tech and touch solutions strengthen employer brands, improve retention and re-engage talent. Employers hire us because we deliver superior outcomes through expert coaching, professional branding, contemporary resources and on-demand analytics. Today, we are a trusted human partner of successful companies across more than 40 industries and deliver services in over 100 countries and 40 languages. Our passion and dedication to innovation, responsiveness, and results have earned us extensive recognition and awards from organizations such as Bersin by Deloitte, Gartner Inc., the Brandon Hall Group, and Fortune magazine. For more information, visit

Media contact:

Nick Palladino
(212) 390-0520

20 May 2021

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