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ManpowerGroup: U.S. Employers ‘Guarded’

September 13 2011

U.S. employers continue to be guarded in their hiring predictions, with fewer planning to add staff in the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower employment outlook survey released today by ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN).

Sixteen percent of U.S. employers anticipate an increase in staff levels in their fourth-quarter hiring plans, while 11 percent expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a net employment outlook of 5 percent — or 7 percent, seasonally adjusted. That’s up from a seasonally adjusted 6 percent in the same period last year but down from 8 percent in the third quarter of this year.

This is the eighth straight quarter of positive outlook following three quarters of pessimistic employment plans in 2009. However, the fourth-quarter outlook is the first in nine quarters to drop from the previous quarter.

The outlook is positive overall for 11 of the 13 industry sectors surveyed, with Wholesale & Retail Trade and Mining posting double-digit net hiring outlooks of 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Employers in 2 sectors expect hiring to slow down compared with three months ago; 6 industry sectors expect hiring to decrease considerably.

Employers in 45 states report positive hiring intentions for the fourth quarter, a slight dip compared to the previous quarter when employers in all 50 states had a positive hiring outlook. Similarly, 85 percent of the metropolitan statistical areas surveyed report a positive hiring outlook for the fourth quarter, compared with 99 percent three months ago.

“Employers are hesitant to make big decisions when it comes to hiring in the fourth quarter,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “Recent economic conditions, coupled with the results of the Manpower employment outlook survey, indicate hiring intentions among U.S. employers remain guarded with a low level of job creation expected in the short term. When all eyes are focused on jobs as a true indicator for economic stability, our survey results suggest no significant hiring increases at least through year end.”

More than 18,000 interviews with U.S. employers were conducted for the survey. In total, ManpowerGroup interviewed 63,000 employers across 39 countries.

On net, employers in 36 of the 39 countries and territories expected to add workers, though the pace has softened in 21 of 39 countries; a majority report stronger outlooks compared with a year ago.

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