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U.S. employers expect hiring to remain relatively stable in the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released by ManpowerGroup.
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The Net Employment Outlook for the fourth quarter 2011 is +7 percent, up from +6 percent during the same period last year and down from the +8 percent Outlook during Quarter 3 2011.
While the Outlook is positive overall and marginally ahead of one year ago at this time, the one point quarter-over-quarter drop is the first decrease, although slight, in nine quarters.
The outlook is positive overall for 11 of 13 industry sectors surveyed, but employers in 12 of the 13 expect hiring to slow down compared with three months ago. Six industry sectors expect hiring to decrease considerably. Sectors expecting hiring increases include: Wholesale & Retail Trade (+17 percent), Mining (+15 percent), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+8 percent), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+8 percent), Leisure & Hospitality (+8 percent), Education & Health Services (+4 percent) and Transportation & Utilities (+3 percent). Construction and Government have a negative outlook.
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 have expressed overall optimistic hiring intentions for eight straight quarters, following three quarters of pessimistic employment plans in 2009. The level of optimism however, as evidenced by single digit Net Employment Outlook levels, is reflective of the uncertain environment and remains significantly below pre-recession levels.
Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 16 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in their fourth quarter 2011 hiring plans, while 11 percent expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +5 percent. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes +7 percent. Seventy percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The final 3 percent of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.
“Even though we’re seeing a slight slowdown in hiring momentum for the fourth quarter, we know employers are struggling to fill open positions that require specialized and technical skills,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “This talent mismatch, between the available job candidates and the skills needed for open positions, presents a challenging paradox as we see high unemployment rates along with employers who want to hire but can’t find the right person in the right place. This workplace challenge will continue to build when more jobs open up and the economy recovers.”
The quarter-over-quarter hiring Outlook is stable in the Midwest, South and West regions. Employers in the Northeast expect job prospects to slightly dim compared to three months ago. Compared to one year ago at this time, employers in the Midwest and West look for hiring to increase slightly and those in the Northeast and South anticipate hiring to remain on the same pace.