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U.S. Employers Taking a Cautious Approach

Of the 1,400 U.S. employers surveyed by Manpower for its quarterly forecast, 27 percent expect to increase their workforce during the fourth quarter. Nine percent say they will cut their payrolls. Fifty-eight percent expect no change in the hiring pace.

September 11, 2007
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U.S. employers will have a stable but cautious approach to hiring in the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower Inc. employment outlook survey.

Manpower chairman and CEO Jeffrey Joerres said Tuesday, September 11, that market forces that determine hiring show no indicators of growth or decline.

As a result, says Joerres, “It is not unexpected that U.S. employers have conservative hiring plans for the fourth quarter.” That same approach to hiring has been apparent in the company’s quarterly surveys throughout the year, he added.

Of the 1,400 U.S. employers surveyed, 27 percent expect to increase their workforce during the upcoming fourth quarter, while 9 percent say they will cut their payrolls. Fifty-eight percent expect no change in the hiring pace, while 6 percent are undecided about their hiring plans for the quarter.

The seasonally adjusted survey results show the hiring pace in the majority of industry sectors is expected to stay relatively unchanged through the last three months of the year. That includes employers in construction, durable and nondurable goods manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, finance/insurance/real estate, and education and services.

Mining and transportation/public utilities employers expect a slight dip in hiring, while those in public administration see better job prospects than in the third quarter.

In a nutshell, the latest survey shows companies that produce goods, such as those in manufacturing and construction, are struggling. Meanwhile, those in the services sector are performing well, says Manpower North America president Jonas Prising.

Regionally, the West has the best prospects for hiring, while the Northeast has the weakest for the second quarter in a row. And services employers in the West are showing more optimism about hiring now than they have in more than 25 years of data.

Quarter-to-quarter comparisons show employers in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West expect hiring to stay stable through year’s end.

Meanwhile, an estimated 40,000 job cuts in August related to the implosion of the subprime lending industry are expected to inflate jobless claims across the country this month. The housing downturn, likely to last another year or more, is expected to have a ripple economic effect in coming months, with fewer real estate agents and fewer jobs in home furnishings and appliances, along with possible cuts in investment banking jobs.

The quarterly report by Manpower gathers data from nearly 52,000 employers in the U.S. and 26 other countries and territories.

Globally, the strongest fourth-quarter hiring prospects were found in Norway, Sweden, Spain, Germany, India, Singapore, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Hong Kong. Employers in Italy again reported the least robust hiring plans worldwide.

In the Americas, employers in Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico are the most optimistic about fourth-quarter hiring. Canada expects hiring to be stable from the third quarter, but slower than last year’s fourth quarter.

Mark Larson

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