Jobs advertised in the Modern Language Association's job-information list showed a slight decline in the past year that reversed two years of modest annual increases.
The 2012-13 figures, released on Wednesday, cover the academic year that began in September 2012. Over that period, the list's English edition advertised 1,142 jobs, 93 fewer, or 7.5 percent less, than last year's figure of 1,235 jobs. The foreign-language edition saw 26 fewer jobs over the same period, a 2.3-percent decline from last year's 1,128 jobs.
The number of jobs advertised peaked in each edition during the 2007-8 year, at 1,826 and 1,680 jobs, respectively. After two years of steep drops following the onset of the recession, the figures began to rebound, increasing for two consecutive years before this year's decline.
In recent years, the distribution of advertisements throughout the year has also shifted. Instead of clustering in the association's English issue published in October, which saw upward of 50 percent of all advertisements as recently as the 2001-2 academic year, its February issue has received the most positions advertised since the 2010-11 academic year.
Rosemary G. Feal, the association's executive director, said the trend showed that departments continue to receive late hiring authorizations and need to fill short-term positions.
"The already-precarious job market is becoming more precarious," she said.
The report says that the percentage of advertisements for tenure-track positions rose slightly in the English edition and decreased for the foreign-language edition, but the number of tenure-track positions advertised declined in each case.