Employers Report Cautious Q4 Hiring Intentions

September 9, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - U.S. employers are projecting a continued decline in hiring intentions for the final quarter of 2008, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

According to a press release, of the 14,000 employers surveyed in the U.S., 22% say they expect to increase their staff levels during the October to December period, while 13% expect to reduce their payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of 9%. Fifty-nine percent indicate they expect no change in hiring, and 6% are undecided about their hiring plans.

“The continuing softness in hiring activity comes as no surprise as weakening market conditions are causing many companies to carefully adjust their hiring in line with the demand for their product or service,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of Manpower, in the press release.

Seasonally adjusted survey data shows that six of the 10 industry sectors surveyed will decrease hiring slightly during the upcoming quarter, including Durable and Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation/Public Utilities, Wholesale/Retail Trade, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate and Services. Employers in the Construction, Education and Public Administration sectors indicate stable hiring conditions, while Mining remains the only sector looking to increase staff levels for the upcoming quarter.

Employers in the Northeast and Midwest anticipate weakening hiring conditions, while the South is moderately less optimistic compared to Quarter 3 2008. Employers in the West are slightly more optimistic about hiring plans in the upcoming quarter.

Manpower's global survey data reveals that employers in India, Costa Rica, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, Colombia, Romania, Poland, Argentina, Australia and South Africa report the most favorable fourth-quarter hiring plans, while employers in Spain, Ireland and Italy are reporting the weakest and only negative hiring expectations.

Employers in the Asia/Pacific region have become notably more conservative in their hiring plans, the press release said. Employers across all of the eight countries and territories surveyed expect to pull back on hiring from the third quarter; however, compared to one year ago, the pace of hiring is expected to improve in India and Taiwan and remain relatively stable in China.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reports on findings from 33 countries and territories around the world. The U.S. results are based on interviews with more than 14,000 public and private employers in 460 market areas across the country.