U.S. employers continue to be guarded in their hiring predictions, according to the quarterly Manpower employment outlook survey released by the ManpowerGroup Inc. last week. 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 for hiring plans to have dropped from the previous quarters.
Employers in 45 states report positive hiring intentions for the fourth quarter, a slight dip compared to the third-quarter report, 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.”
Other data support the perception of sharp differences in demand around the country. We have states that are faring poorly -- Michigan, Nevada, Alabama are all contracting. Indiana, Illinois, the Southeast are also doing badly but not as poorly as some others. However, 35 of the states are still experiencing some economic growth.