Increased efficiency is yet another hindrance to job growth, and it is visible on numerous levels. U.S. GDP growth continues, albeit slowly, despite massive unemployment numbers. Profit per employee at privately held companies is also growing rapidly. In 2009, the profit per employee at privately held companies had plummeted from $13,400 in 2006 to just over $10,000, according to Sageworks. Thus far in 2011, that figure has shot up to $15,279—a 44 percent increase over 2009, adjusted for inflation.
Employers are indeed doing more with less, and thus may not see a pressing need to hire...yet. This is one reason to be hopeful: A business must eventually hire in order to grow. "When industries start to recover, what we would generally see is productivity increases first until a certain point until you can only get so much out of productivity," says Lubansky. "Normally that can only take you so far before you do have to start hiring more employees to get increased profitability."