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U. S. employers expect to continue adding jobs slowly, according to the fourth-quarter Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today by ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN).
Among U.S. employers surveyed, 17 percent expect to add to their workforces and 9 percent expect a decline in payrolls during fourth quarter 2012. Seventy-two percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels and the remaining 2 percent are undecided about fourth quarter 2012 hiring plans. This results in a net employment outlook of 11 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Survey results suggest that employers expect hiring intentions to remain relatively stable during the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter, and to slightly increase compared with one year ago at this time. U.S. employers have now conveyed a positive outlook for 12 straight quarters.
“I think the story is there is kind of no story, because we are just inching along,” said Melanie Holmes, a vice president at ManpowerGroup. “But it’s inching in the right direction. We’re not seeing changes, quarter over quarter. Employers have shown amazing consistency in their hiring plans for three years. The good news is that companies are managing through all the stuff that is going on, but the bad news is they are not growing staff levels fast enough to get people back to work and reduce our high unemployment rate.”
ManpowerGroup’s employment outlook survey includes responses from more than 18,000 U.S. employers.
Results from all U.S. regions show positive growth, with the South the strongest at 12 percent, followed by the West at 10 percent, Northeast at 9 percent and Midwest at 11 percent. Forty-nine of the 50 states plan positive hiring activity as do 99 of the 100 metropolitan statistical areas.
“When we’re in really healthy territory, our net employment outlook is in the mid-20s, so we’re not there yet,” said Holmes. “But for three years we’ve been inching along. I guess we can’t complain too much about it.”
In Canada, the seasonally adjusted net employment outlook is 10 percent, a decline of 2 percentage points from last quarter and a year-over-year decline of 3 percentage points.
“All industry sectors report positive growth and the four regions expect positive hiring activity,” said Holmes.
The mining industry and western Canada region reported the strongest hiring plans and Ontario, where the country’s largest cities are located, is the least optimistic but still in positive territory at 8 percent.