Review of Article: Illinois Employment could improve later this year article

By Wailin Wong; Posted Thursday at 11:15 a.m.
Employment in Illinois may accelerate in the last quarter of the year, according to one survey by a California-based staffing firm.

A report released Thursday by Robert Half International said a net 12 percent of Illinois executives expect to hire more employees in the fourth quarter, an increase of 11 percentage points over sentiment measured in the third quarter. The company’s survey showed 19 percent of executives planned to staff up, while 7 percent were expecting to cut staff. Subtracting the 7 percent from the 19 percent generated the net 12 percent figure.

The Illinois figure reflects rosier sentiment in the state than nationally. Robert Half’s broad survey indicated that a net 6 percent of executives plan to increase hiring in the fourth quarter, up three percentage points from the third quarter.

Robert Half said it polled more than 1,400 chief financial officers and more than 1,400 chief information officers, as well as hundreds of senior human resources managers, attorneys, advertising executives and marketing executives with hiring authority.

This may be encouraging news but what exactly does this survey represent? Even if the majority of those surveyed were Fortune 500 companies, that would only incorporate 10-20 percent of the work force. Considering that the majority of job created over the last 5 years were created by small to mid-size companies, and not large companies, will Fortune 500 companies be doing the same percentage of hiring as small to mid-size companies?

Would a fortune 500 CEO with 100,000 employees participating have the same voice as a CEO who heads a company with 1000 employees? How would that be broken down? By number of employees?

Another concern with this report centers on small business of 2-20 employees. How many small businesses participated in the study? If few small companies were involved, would surveying Fortune 500 and mid-size companies provide the necessary statistical significance to suggest smaller business too will hire at the same rate?

According to Wikipedia, small business in the US is less than 500 employees. These businesses account for half the GDP and over half the employment. Wikipedia states that about 18% of all employment comes from firms with 20 or fewer employees. How many of these firms were surveyed? Having more information about the survey could help us better evaluate the statistical significance.