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ManpowerGroup: Q1 Hiring to Rise in U.S.

December 13 2011

More employers plan to hire in the first quarter of 2012 than in the fourth quarter of this year, according to a survey of 18,000 U.S. employers by ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN). And first-quarter 2012 hiring is expected to be about on pace with the same period in 2011.

ManpowerGroup’s survey found that:

  • 14 percent of U.S. employers planned to increase staff in the first quarter.
  • 9 percent planned to decrease staff.
  • 70 percent planned no change.
  • 7 percent were unsure.

Taking the percentage of U.S. employers increasing staff and subtracting the number of employers decreasing staff gives a net employment outlook of 5 percent, or 9 percent when seasonally adjusted.

In comparison, the seasonally adjusted net employment outlook was 7 percent for the fourth quarter of 2011 and 8 percent for the first quarter of 2011.

“Slow, but steady momentum has improved employer confidence, which is likely why more employers are planning to hire in the first quarter,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “This uptick is encouraging, but the historically high proportion of employers that are unsure of their hiring plans indicates continued uncertainty about the future and ongoing caution when it comes to staffing plans.”

Employers in most industries had a positive seasonally adjusted net employment outlooks except for construction (-4 percent) and government (-3 percent).

The ManpowerGroup also surveys employment trends in other countries. In total, the company surveyed 65,000 employers in 41 countries and territories.

Globally, employers in 31 of the 41 countries and territories covered by the survey expected to add workers, though the pace of growth has softened in 30 countries and territories since the fourth quarter report and in 23 on a year-over-year basis

Canadian employers expect the hiring climate to remain moderate for the first quarter of 2012.

The survey included more than 1,900 Canadian employers and found that 16 percent plan to increase their payrolls in the first quarter of 2012 while 10 per cent anticipate cutbacks, for a net 6 percent planning to add staff, or 15 percent when seasonally adjusted. Of those surveyed, 71 per cent of employers expect to maintain their current staffing levels and three per cent are unsure of their hiring intentions for the upcoming quarter.

“The upcoming quarter’s net employment outlook suggests some gains in employer optimism, particularly in the manufacturing-durables sector,” said Byrne Luft, vice president of operations, staffing services for Manpower Canada. “Although Western Canada anticipates the most favorable hiring climate, employers in all regions and sectors are telling us that they plan to hire at a more cautious pace from January to March compared with the previous quarter.”

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