Q4 Hiring Plans Look Bleak

August 27, 2001(PLANSPONSOR.com) - Against a backdrop of mass layoffs, lackluster earnings and dismal economic data, fourth-quarter hiring levels in some sectors are expected to reach lows last seen during the recession of the early 90s, according to staffing firm Manpower Inc.

Of the nearly 16,000 companies interviewed by Manpower, only 24% expect to make new hires in the fourth quarter, down from 32% in the fourth quarter last year.

In addition, 11% of those surveyed expect to cut jobs, while 65% see no change or are undecided, compared with 7% saying a year ago they planned to cut jobs and 61% expecting to stay the same or undecided. In the prior quarter, 27% projected increases and 9% planned reductions.

Furthermore, the latest quarterly Employment Outlook survey by the staffing firm found no evidence of the trend reversing.

Goods Manufacuring

In the market segments of durable and non-durable goods, hiring levels were alarming, with hiring levels approaching those seen in the early 80s and 90s when the economy struggled with a recession.

In the durable goods sector, manufacturers of goods expected to last at least three years, only 20% expect to hire new workers, while 16% expect to cut back on their workforce. This marks the lowest expectations for hiring in this sector since the fourth quarter of 1982.

The outlook for hiring by non-durable goods makers was even more dismal, with only 19% expecting to hire and 13% saying they plan to cut back.

Services and Seasonal Shopping

Services firms are losing their traditional resistance to hiring declines. The segment, which had been holding up through last quarter’s survey, is also deteriorating, with 22% of services companies continuing to recruit, while 11% plan to cut back.

In some sectors hiring is seasonal, such as in the retail and wholesale sectors, where 35% of companies plan to hire in the fourth quarter in the run up to the holiday season, while 9% plan to trim their payrolls, according to the survey.

Sector Stats

The survey also shows that:

  • in the transportation and public utilities sector, 20% of employers plan to add workers, while 9% plan to cut,
  • of the finance, insurance and real estate firms surveyed, 18% plan to hire more workers, while 9% plan to trim their workforce,
  • some 24% of education institutions plan to add to their staff complement, while 6% plan to cut, and
  • almost 20% of public administrators plan to add, while one in 10 plan to cut back.