Report: Employer optimism in global labor market gradually improving

RP news wires
Tags: talent management, business management

According to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results released June 8 by Manpower Inc. employer optimism in the global labor market is gradually improving, with employers in 30 of 36 countries and territories indicating stronger hiring plans compared to 12 months ago and 23 reporting improved quarter-over-quarter hiring plans. Despite uncertainty in the European market, fewer employers are reporting negative forecasts for the quarter ahead. Meanwhile, employers in China and Taiwan indicate their most robust hiring plans since the Manpower survey began in these markets in 2005, and the forecast from U.S. employers is similar to three months ago but notably improved from last year at this time.

"Across the world, there is improved optimism towards hiring, which is typical for this phase of the recovery," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "The majority of countries are emerging from the downturn, but still have a way to go as companies are feeling demand for their products and services, but it has not accelerated enough to excite hiring prospects. The U.S. is in the beginnings of a hiring recovery; however there is still economic uncertainty, which is going to bridle stronger hiring."

The Manpower data shows employers in 31 of 36 countries and territories expect positive hiring activity in the third quarter, while those in four report negative hiring expectations – an improvement in comparison to the 13 European countries reporting negative outlooks 12 months ago. Globally, the strongest job prospects are reported by employers in India, Brazil, Taiwan, China, Peru, Australia and Singapore. In contrast, the weakest third-quarter hiring plans are reported by employers in Italy, Ireland, Spain and Greece.

Across the Asia Pacific region, year-over-year forecasts improve in each of the eight countries and territories surveyed, with forecasts improving from three months ago in six. Hiring plans are strongest in India, Taiwan and China. Japanese employers again report the weakest hiring plans in the region; however, job prospects are considerably stronger compared to one year ago and improve for the fourth consecutive quarter.

"Asia Pacific, with the exception of Japan, continues its strong hiring intentions," said Joerres. "Asia Pacific was less affected by the downturn and it's showing in their continued optimism for future hiring. China and India, because of their strong domestic growth, have seemed to escape the doldrums of the downturn compared to the western, more mature marketplaces. Japan, which has more of the classic mature market syndrome, is showing a considerable improvement year over year, fueled primarily by the demand in the Services sector."

Employer hiring plans remain mixed across the 18 countries surveyed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, but there are positive signals in the labor market. Third-quarter hiring activity is expected to be positive in 13 countries and, in comparison to last year at this time, when employers in 13 countries were reporting negative hiring expectations, only those in four report negative Net Employment Outlooks: Italy, Ireland, Spain and Greece. Meanwhile, year-over-year improvements are forecast for 14 countries. Hiring activity in the region is expected to be strongest in Poland, Germany and Sweden.

"Europe, despite all the recent bad news, is showing some improved demand for product, as evidenced by employers' increased appetite to hire in the Manufacturing sector, with 16 of 18 countries showing more optimism in their hiring plans," explained Joerres. "German employers continue to indicate more positive hiring prospects than their European neighbors with almost all sectors improving and particular sector strength in Wholesales/Retail hiring. While our survey was conducted prior to the recent events in Greece, the results are still relatively reflective of the current challenging environment."

The survey data for the 10 countries surveyed in the Americas region paints a similar picture to three months ago: Hiring plans again are stronger in comparison to third quarter of 2009 in all countries where year-over-year data is available and stronger in five countries quarter-over-quarter. Regional hiring plans are strongest in Brazil, Peru and Costa Rica. At the same time, hiring expectations from U.S. employers remain relatively stable from three months ago but are notably stronger than those reported 12 months ago.

"Traditionally at this timeframe in the recovery, we would see more robust hiring in the U.S. market; however, the clouds of economic uncertainty as well as improved, yet tepid demand are restraining the enthusiasm for hiring," added Joerres. "This isn't surprising, as 70 percent of companies are still indicating they will make no changes to their workforces. Meanwhile, job prospects are improving in the Leisure and Hospitality sector, where employers anticipate staffing up for the summer holiday, and renewed Foreign Direct Investment in Brazil is likely responsible for positive hiring sentiment in South America's largest economy."

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on September 7 to report hiring expectations for the fourth quarter of 2010. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is available free of charge to the public through their local Manpower representative in participating countries. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, interested individuals are invited to complete an online subscription form at:

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