HR Stocks Hit Harder Than Market; Job Boards Down by Double-Digits

HR-related stocks are getting hammered far harder than the broader financial markets, as the global sell-off that began a week ago resumed today.

HR stocks are bleeding more than the market as a whole, as investors worldwide continued their rush to sell. The publicly traded job boards were all off by double-digits, with LinkedIn down more than four times the Dow as a whole.

At mid-afternoon in New York, the Dow was down 4.4 percent, which translates into a nearly 500 point drop. The NASDAQ, where some of the HR stocks trade, was off 137 points, a 5.5 percent from its opening.

Investors spared none of the HR stocks we track. Wall Street darling LinkedIn, was off $16.68, a drop of 18.26 percent; the biggest decline of any of the job boards and, for that matter, of all the HR firms on our list.

Lack of confidence in U.S. job growth

Last week LinkedIn reported revenues and earnings significantly higher than analysts had been expecting, and though company executives tamped down 3rd quarter expectations, what they projected was still above Wall Street’s early predictions. LinkedIn was rewarded for its performance by managing to climb $4.50 after the numbers were reported.

The double-digit drops in the other publicly traded boards — Dice, Monster, 51Job — can be interpreted as a lack of investor confidence in U.S. job growth. Although Wall Street got some “goodish” news Friday about July job growth, it wasn’t good enough to offset the mediocre financial news of the previous several days. Some economists are wondering whether even the modest July growth will be sustained, let alone accelerate.

Those concerns may account for the for the job board price declines, and for the relative support that staffing stocks got. Though down, too, the staffing firms weren’t hurt as much. In times of economic uncertainty, employers add overtime and bring in temps.

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Manpower, for instance, was off 5.28 percent at mid-afternoon in New York. That was only about a point more than the Dow at that time. Kelly , also off, was in line with Manpower.

The tech vendors as a group were off more than the market as a whole. Cornerstone OnDemand  was the best off of the publicly traded tech firms. It was down a mere .13 percent at mid-afternoon, well below the Dow.

At the other end, was SuccessFactors, which lost 10.6 percent of its value. Kenexa and were down 8.29 percent each.

The chart accompanying this post was updated mid-afternoon New York time. By now, the numbers have likely changed, since market prices are moving quickly for many companies.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


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