The Labor Department released chilling news a few weeks back: a nationwide loss of 4,000 jobs. It was the first drop in the overall job market since August 2003, and it spelled further bad news for HireRight (NASDAQ:HIRE), which provides on-demand employment screening services. Following the company's fiscal Q2 earnings report last week, the stock price plunged 8.5% to $12.81.

HireRight's service revenue came in at $16.8 million, up 19.7% over the past year. New customers were its main growth driver, increasing from 1,297 to 1,723 year over year. HireRight saw a year-over-year 3.8% improvement in gross margins, to 56.2%. The company has implemented new automation systems, rationalized facilities expenses, and moved more activities offshore.

However, on the conference call, HireRight's management noted the recent slowdown in overall hiring in the U.S. economy. As a result, the company expects revenue growth of only 12% to 15% for Q3, compared to 20% growth in Q2.

HireRight continues to get a boost from alliance partners such as Taleo (NASDAQ:TLEO), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), IBM (NYSE:IBM), and Accenture (NYSE:ACN). HireRight is also trying to focus more on small-to-medium (SMB) businesses. In addition, the company plans to expand into global markets; the proceeds of HireRight's IPO in August should make that easier.

Unfortunately, these initiatives will take time, and HireRight isn't sure how long the macroeconomic weakness will continue. If serious issues such as the mortgage meltdown and the credit crunch on Wall Street keep the economy weak, HireRight's stock may also remain in neutral for awhile.  

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 2,620 out of more than 65,000 total participants in CAPS.