Manpower survey: Employers optimistic about hiring

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: talent management

After two-and-a-half years of reporting similarly strong job prospects, U.S. employers still won't budge on hiring plans for the third quarter of 2006, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.


"Because the hiring outlook has been so consistent for so long, we have had plenty of time to analyze the survey findings and point out the level of sophistication employers have achieved in their hiring. Having reached this extended plateau, it is unlikely that we will experience any major swings, negative or positive, in the job market until employers see a dramatic change in demand for their products and services," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc.


Of the 16,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 31 percent expect to add to their payrolls during the third quarter of 2006, while 6 percent expect to reduce staff levels. Fifty-seven percent expect no change in the hiring pace, while 6 percent are undecided about their July-September hiring plans.


When seasonal variations are removed from the data, some positive industry trends emerge. Employers in four sectors - Transportation/Public Utilities, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, Services and Public Administration - expect slightly improved employment prospects for the third quarter vs. second quarter. Durable and Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Wholesale/Retail Trade and Education employers expect the hiring pace to remain about the same.


Employer optimism about hiring is starting to fade in two sectors. Construction employers are less likely to add staff in the late summer months than they were in the April to June period, although the change is minimal. Mining employers report a more noticeable change in hiring plans.


"Although Construction employers expect to hire at a brisk pace again during the third quarter, hiring in this sector has inched downward throughout 2006. There is rampant speculation about the state of the housing market, and these survey results are another piece of evidence that point toward a cooling trend," said Joerres.


Among the four U.S. regions surveyed, the Northeast is the only area to report a measurable change in hiring plans, with slightly improved job prospects in store for the third quarter when compared to second quarter of 2006. Employers in the South and West report the strongest hiring intentions for the July-September period, while those in the Midwest have the most conservative staffing plans.


In addition to the United States, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted in 24 other countries and territories. The quarterly report from Manpower Inc. is the most extensive, forward-looking employment survey in the world, gathering data from more than 49,000 employers across the globe each quarter.

Third-quarter hiring is expected to be positive in 23 of 25 countries and territories surveyed, with employers in India, Japan, Hong Kong, Ireland and Belgium reporting their most optimistic hiring plans to date, based on seasonally adjusted data. Meanwhile, the labor market continues to cool in China with employers reporting their weakest hiring plans since the survey began there.


The strongest third-quarter hiring prospects reported globally were in India, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and the United States with only German employers reporting a negative hiring outlook for the quarter ahead. This quarter also marks the first time the survey has been conducted with employers across Costa Rica, where employment prospects are among the strongest.


"Overall, the global labor market appears to be in good shape with continued steady hiring expected in the U.S. and throughout the Americas. Europe continues to improve from last year and hiring activity is generally strong across Asia Pacific," said Joerres. "Currently, we are seeing peaks, such as the continued robust hiring outlooks in India and Japan, and valleys, such as renewed pessimism in Germany and the weaker indications in China, but employers in the majority of the countries we survey are adding to their workforces."


Of the eight countries and territories included in the survey across Asia Pacific, adjusted data reveals hiring activity is expected to be strongest in India, Hong Kong and Japan - all at record levels of optimism - while the weakest hiring in the region is anticipated in China and Singapore.


Adjusted data shows employers in 10 of 12 European countries surveyed expect to add to their workforces in the next three months, and half are reporting improved hiring expectations from last year at this time. Third-quarter hiring prospects are strongest in Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, Austria, Spain and Belgium, with Belgian and Irish employers reporting their most optimistic hiring plans to date. Germany reported the weakest and only negative hiring outlook in Europe.


The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on September 12 to report hiring expectations for the fourth quarter.


About Manpower Inc.

Manpower Inc. is a world leader in the employment services industry; creating and delivering services that enable its clients to win in the changing world of work. The $16 billion company offers employers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; outsourcing and consulting. More information is available at

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