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Manpower poll - Firms cautious with hiring

December 09 2008

U.S. companies plan to be cautious when it comes to hiring in the first quarter, according to the Employment Outlook Survey by Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN).

For the first quarter, 16% of companies said they plan to add staff while 13% plan to cut for a net employment outlook of 3% (not seasonally adjusted). Sixty-seven percent planned no change, while 5% didn't know. The percentage total exceeds 100% because of rounding.

Those numbers are down from plans for the first quarter of 2007, when there was a net employment outlook of 10%.

"A significant percentage — 67% — of employers plan to hold staff levels steady for the first quarter of 2009," said Manpower Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Joerres. "This may suggest that a majority of employers are carefully monitoring the uncertain economic environment prior to making any additional employment decisions."

Mining has the brightest outlook of all industries with a net employment outlook of 12%. It was followed by the professional and business services category with a net employment outlook of 11%.

The weakest industry was construction with a net employment outlook of -12%.

In Canada, the net employment outlook for the first quarter of 2009 is 7% (not seasonally adjusted). That compares with a net employment outlook of 6% for the first quarter of 2008.

Employers in the United Kingdom reported a first-quarter net employment outlook of -5% (not seasonally adjusted). That compares with 7% for the year-ago quarter.

The report surveyed 71,000 employers in 33 countries, including 31,800 employers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

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