Q3 Hiring Plans Lowest in a Decade: Manpower

May 21, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Just 27% of companies plan to add staff in the next quarter, down from 35% a year ago, and at the slowest pace in a decade, according to a quarterly report from Manpower.

Ominously, 9% are planning cuts, roughly double the 5% a year ago, in what is typically the busiest hiring period of the year.

The report, from the temporary employment firm, includes the perspectives of 16,000 company interviews. The report also found that most employers (59%) anticipate no change in hiring volumes, while 5% aren’t sure.

However, things aren’t quite as bad as they were in 1991, when just 22% of companies were looking to hire, compared with 10% planning reductions.

Current Quarter

Hiring optimism was brightest in the construction industry, where 37% of employers were planning to hire additional workers, compared with just 8% anticipating layoffs according to the survey.

Employers in the durable goods manufacturing sector sent a mixed message, with the percentage contemplating cutbacks nearly equal to those in an expansion mindset. 

In fact, this sector hasn’t seen hiring activity this weak since 1982.  A sharp 15% of those employers are planning to cut jobs and only 24% are anticipating hiring increases, according to the survey.

With second quarter sales lower than expected, 32% of employers in the wholesale and retail trades now anticipate hiring increases, while 8% are contemplating cutbacks.

The least optimistic sector in the survey was finance, insurance and real estate, where just one in five employers were considering additional hiring, compared with 8% who were planning to reduce staffing. 

It was the fifth slumping quarter in a row for the sector.

Twenty-eight percent of services firms are looking for workers, while 7% are considering cutbacks.