Manpower: Employers Expect to Hire in Q1

December 16, 2003 ( - Employers may be starting the new year with some new employees.

Manpower Inc’s quarterly Employment Outlook Survey of 16,000 companies found one-fifth of US employers plan on adding to headcount in the first quarter of 2004. The vast majority of employers (61%), though, expect no change in hiring, while 13% expect a decrease in job prospects and 6% are uncertain.

Even when seasonal variations are removed from the survey results, the data reveals that the hiring forecast from January to March 2004 is more positive than it was last quarter and relatively consistent with the outlook a year ago, when Manpower forecast an identical20% of companies planning on hiring more people in January-March 2003 (SeeFirst Quarter 2003 Looking Good For Job Prospects). To start 2002, 16% of employers expected to add staff members.

Manpower’s Chairman & CEO Jeffery Joerres sees this as a positive sign.“Five years have passed since we last witnessed an increase in hiring expectations between the fourth quarter survey and the employment outlook for the new year,” said Joerres in a news release. “Although hiring intentions are still not as buoyant as they were in the late 1990s, employers are taking a step in that direction with their hiring plans for the beginning of the year.”

Industry Outlook

The positive outlook is nearly uniform, as employers in nine of the 10 industry sectors estimate that their third-quarter hiring activity will be brighter than it was last quarter. The only holdout was Public Administration, a sector that expects the net result in the first quarter to be a zero percent hiring forecast, even though seasonally adjusted totals showed a hiring pickup of 3%.

Leading the other sectors when seasonal variations are removed is the construction industry, which anticipates hiring 21% more workers in the coming quarter. In fact, job prospects in this sector have not been this strong since the first quarter of 2001.

Other seasonally adjusted hiring forecasts for the first quarter include:

  • Wholesale & Retail (17%)
  • Services (15%)
  • Finance, Insurance & Real Estate (15%)
  • Mining (13%)
  • Manufacturing – Durables (13%)
  • Manufacturing – Non-Durables (12%)
  • Education (5%).

For more information or to obtain the full report, visit Manpower’s Web site at