Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Finds Hint of Restraint in U.S. Hiring Plans for Second Quarter

In the United States, employers plan to tone down hiring activity during the second quarter of 2007, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.

Milwaukee — March 13
In the United States, employers plan to tone down hiring activity during the second quarter of 2007, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.

“A look at the last three quarters of survey data suggests that employers are shifting into neutral when it comes to hiring,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower Inc. chairman and CEO. “Companies expect to coast through the next three months without much growth in the way of staff. It is a subtle change that may not yet be perceived in the job market, however, it is a break from the three-plus years of nearly unchanged hiring plans.”

Of the 14,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 28 percent expect to increase payrolls during the second quarter of 2007, while 7 percent expect to trim staff levels.

Fifty-nine percent expect no change in the hiring pace, and 6 percent are undecided about their hiring plans.
The seasonally adjusted survey results show employers are more likely to maintain or reduce staffing activity rather than ramp up hiring.

Employers in durable and nondurable goods manufacturing, education and public administration sectors express similar hiring intentions for the first and second quarters of 2007.

Mining, construction, wholesale/retail trade and services employers are less confident about hiring than they were in the first quarter, while transportation/public utilities and finance/insurance/real estate hiring managers foresee improved job prospects during the spring months.

“A look at the shifts within the industry sectors brings context to the hiring pause expected in the second quarter,” said Jonas Prising, Manpower North America president. “During the last year, hiring intentions among construction employers steadily declined to early 2004 levels, such that second quarter results are among the weakest of the 10 industry sectors.

“Factor in the increasingly conservative mood of durable goods manufacturing, finance/insurance/real estate and services employers, and we have a clearer picture of the industries that are impacting the softer survey results.”

At the regional level, there are minimal changes in hiring expectations compared with the first quarter.

Employers in the Northeast and South expect to maintain similar levels of employment activity, while those in the Midwest and West anticipate slightly weaker hiring conditions in the next three months.

Among survey participants, those in the South are the most upbeat about hiring, and those in Midwest are least optimistic.

In addition to the United States, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted in 26 other countries and territories.

The quarterly report from Manpower Inc. is the most extensive, forward-looking employment survey in the world, gathering data from nearly 50,000 employers around the globe each quarter.

Overall employment expectations in the global labor market are mixed for the second quarter, with employers in 14 countries and territories expecting to increase the pace of hiring from both the first quarter of 2007 and one year ago.

The Manpower survey showed the most optimistic hiring expectations for the second quarter are in Singapore, Peru, Argentina, South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Employers in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland reported their most optimistic hiring plans since the survey began in these countries.

Of the countries surveyed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, job prospects are strongest in South Africa, Ireland, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom, while French employers reported the weakest —  but still positive — hiring expectations in the region.

In addition to the improvement reported for Germany, Italian employers also reported a notable boost in hiring plans from last year at this time.

Employer hiring projections for the eight countries and territories included in the survey across the Asia Pacific region are mixed, with a weaker job market ahead for Taiwan, India and Hong Kong compared with last year at this time.

On the other hand, seasonally adjusted data reveal demand for employees is heating up in Singapore and Australia.

Of the six countries surveyed in the Americas, employers in Peru and Argentina are the most optimistic about adding to their workforces, while employers in Mexico have the strongest hiring expectations since the survey began in the third quarter of 2002.

The hiring pace is expected to be slightly weaker from one year ago in Canada and the United States.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released June 12 and will report hiring expectations for the third quarter of 2007.