In case you missed it: Sept. 4

It may just be my imagination, but the economy's tumultuous ride this year seems to have spurred an even greater number of surveys and studies focused on the state of employment. As we gear up for the release of today's BLS report on unemployment, here's a look at some of the highlights we've seen over the past two weeks:

Online Recruitment Magazine. Heaviest job cuts are behind us. Typically, Labor Day initiates some of the heaviest downsizing periods of the year, but this year could buck the trend. In an analysis of layoff trends, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found that the heaviest job-cutting of the year may have occurred in early 2009, with 711,100 positions being slashed between January and April. Job cuts between May and July totaled 282,948. (August data is still being compiled.)

The "Productivity Drain" survey, as reported by The Boston Globe: Employee survey: Layoffs can hurt productivity. In a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute and Kronos Incorporated, 40 percent of respondents whose workplaces experienced layoffs in the past year felt that the overall productivity of their organization has been negatively impacted.

The fifth annual Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations report, as reported by Reuters: U.S. Employers see hires in year ahead. A survey conducted by Robert Half International and found that more than half of employers surveyed (53 percent) plan to hire full-time employees in the next 12 months. Four in 10 employers plan to hire contract, temporary, or project workers, and another four in 10 plan to hire part-time employees.

Workforce Management's Global Work Watch: A 21st Century Connection With Workers. A report released in August by Watson Wyatt Worldwide found that 43 percent of firms expect a permanent decrease in staff size in three to five years compared with pre-economic crisis levels. Blogger Ed Frauenheim points to the effect these reductions in the workforce will have on how companies engage workers in the future.

These reports seem to confirm that the worst is over for the American workforce, and are a glimmer of hope that the economy will rebound soon is emerging. And they also lead us to wonder if maybe layoffs weren't the most effective way to deal with the recession after all ...

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