Poll: One in Five Employers to Step Up Q4 Hiring

September 16, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - One in five US employers expects to beef up their fourth-quarter hiring, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Of the 16,000 US employers polled, 22% said they plan to increase hiring activity for the October to December period, while 11% foresee a hiring cutback. The majority, 62%, look for things to stay static until year end while 5% of employers weren’t certain. When the seasonal variations are removed from the data, the survey results for this quarter mark the first increase in job prospects since the first quarter of 2003.

Looking at it from a regional perspective, employers in the Northeast, Midwest and West regions report equal hiring forecasts for the final three months of the year. However, the South has the most promising employment outlook again this quarter and has since the third quarter of 2002. Seven of the 10 industry sectors predict more job opportunities in the fourth quarter than they did in the July to September period.

The results by sector are :

  • The construction sector is expected to gain job momentum after hitting an 11-year low in last quarter’s survey. The October to December outlook is relatively consistent with hiring intentions a year ago.
  • Education employers plan to hire at a modest pace in the fourth quarter – a vast improvement over last quarter when more employers planned to reduce job levels than increase them.
  • Job prospects in the finance/insurance/real estate industry are among the strongest of all the industry sectors. In addition, employers in this sector plan to increase their hiring pace over both last quarter and year ago, which is an optimism shared only by the transportation/public utilities sector.
  • With the seasonal variations removed from the data, durable goods manufacturers expect to hire at the same pace as last quarter, which is moderately slower than the forecast a year ago.
  • Non-durable goods manufacturers plan to hire at a consistent pace with last quarter, according to the seasonally adjusted data.
  • Mining employers expect to offer some job opportunities in the fourth quarter. On a seasonally adjusted basis, however, mining is the only sector in which employers plan to pull back on hiring from both last quarter and last year at this time.
  • According to the seasonally adjusted data, public administration employers expect to bring on workers at a modest pace in the October to December period, which represents a substantial increase in hiring intentions over last quarter.
  • The survey’s history suggests that hiring expectations in the transportation/public utilities sector typically trail off in the fourth quarter. Employers bucked that trend this quarter by anticipating more jobs in the fourth quarter than any other quarter this year, which has happened only one other time in the survey’s history.
  • Wholesale/retail trade employers report their usual spike in hiring plans for the fourth quarter, due to the annual holiday shopping frenzy.

In its last employer poll, Manpower found a great deal of third-quarter hiring caution (See Manpower Survey Shows Employers Cautious About Hiring in Q3 ).