Employers in both the manufacturing and service sectors are curbing hiring plans, with more job losses expected in the months ahead, recent reports show.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a global HR trade group based in Virginia, recruiters are reporting a sharp decline in hiring across all sectors and industries.

In a survey of 500 human resource managers, only 20.4 percent of employers in the manufacturing sector said they planned to increase hiring, down from 38.2 percent in October. Likewise, only 19.1 percent of employers in the service sector said they expected to increase hiring, down from 40.1 percent, the survey found.

This week, the Conference Board's monthly employment trends index for September fell by 0.8 percent from the previous month and 10 percent from a year ago. The index is an aggregate of employment indicators that is typically released after the Labor Department's monthly employment report.

"The deterioration in the employment trends index has become very pronounced, suggesting that the unemployment rate may very well exceed seven percent as early as the second quarter of 2009," Gad Levanon, the New York-based private research group's senior economist, said in a statement.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the national unemployment rate in September remained steady at 6.1 percent, despite the loss of an estimated 159,000 jobs last month.