Survey finds healthy U.S. job picture through June

March 15, 2005

The strong hiring activity that U.S. employers predicted for the first three months of the year is expected to continue into the second quarter, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc. However, durable goods manufacturers are among the segments that intend to decrease staff levels slightly from April through June.

"After three years of volatility in their job outlook, U.S. employers have shown stability in their hiring plans for more than a year now. Companies have seemed to find a rhythm in their hiring practices. What we are witnessing from U.S. businesses is that they are very willing to increase headcount to meet demand for their products and services, but will only do so if tied to measured demand, as opposed to an anticipation of demand," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc.

Of the 16,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 30 percent plan to add staff in the second quarter, while 7 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Fifty-eight percent of the hiring managers polled anticipate no change in staff levels for the coming quarter, and 5 percent are unsure of their hiring plans. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook is the same as it was for the first three months of the year and is similar to last year at this time. In fact, this marks the fifth consecutive quarter in which employers have reported hiring expectations that rival those last seen in the beginning months of 2001.

Quarter-over-quarter hiring plans are remarkably similar across the 10 industry sectors surveyed. The most notable differences are among education and public administration employers who anticipate a slightly more active hiring pace than in the first quarter of 2005. Durable goods manufacturing and wholesale/retail trade employers, on the other hand, intend to decrease staff levels, albeit on a very small scale, from April to June.

Little change is in store for second quarter hiring activity across the four U.S. regions. Employers plan to keep job levels consistent with last quarter and a year ago. Job seekers are likely to find that the West offers the most promising job picture for the April–June period. For the fifth consecutive quarter, employers in the Northeast intend to hire at a more conservative pace than the other regions.

In addition to the U. S., the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted in 20 other countries and territories, including more than 40,000 employers across the globe. Second quarter employment prospects are set to improve most notably for the second quarter in Japan, Germany, Mexico, Norway and Australia.

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