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TheStreet Open House

Your Chances of Getting Hired Just Got Better

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Job seekers may find their hunt a little easier over the next few weeks.

Even with uncertainty and economic volatility at home and financial crisis looming abroad, the traditional trend of new year/Q1 hiring is expected to be a factor.

Job seekers may find their hunt a little easier over the next few weeks.

Conventional wisdom has it that companies -- after ending their year lean and profit focused -- loosen their purse strings and ramp up hiring in the first quarter. This seasonal impact is typically more powerful than otherwise detrimental economic forces.

"The lows may be lower and the highs may be muted, or even higher," says Jeff Joerres, CEO of global staffing and employment services firm ManpowerGroup (MAN - Get Report). "It all depends on what is happening, but there are still seasonal effects that take place and hiring trends."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in December private-sector job growth was 167,000 positions, a number that fell to 94,000 the following month before spiking to 261,000 jobs in February,

Joerres says December and January hiring slows as a result of holiday-related slowdowns and the ramping down of seasonal employees. That slowdown creeps into January as well, before a hiring uptick that usually arrives in February and March.

"People finally have their approved budget, their hiring plan and the head counts they have been screaming for, even if maybe they can only hire four people instead of the six they wanted. Then they can start the process," he says.

Jennifer Schramm, manager of the workplace trends and forecasting program at the Society for Human Resource Management, adds that the pent-up demand for workers is also due to the difficulty getting everyone at a company together at the same time amid the season's many vacations.

"Especially if they have a panel of interviewers, they may have to hold off until they can get everybody back together," she says.

January marked the third consecutive month that hiring activity will decrease and job cuts will rise on an annual basis, according to projections in an SHRM report. The January hiring expectations follow its analysis of month-over-month and year-over-year hiring patterns at 500 service-sector companies and 500 manufacturing companies.

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