Survey Finds Positive Hiring Intentions Among U.S. Employers

June 14, 2011( - According to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, the percentage of employers planning to add staff is at its highest level since the 2008 fourth quarter.

The survey from ManpowerGroup found that positive yet careful hiring intentions are expected to persist in the U.S. throughout the summer. The net employment outlook for the third quarter of 2011 is +8%, up from +6% during the same period last year and consistent with the +8% outlook during the second quarter.

This quarter’s survey indicates the following trends: 

  • 2011 gains holding steady: Since the first quarter of 2011, when the net employment outlook jumped to +8% from +5% the previous quarter, hiring expectations have remained consistent; 
  • Positive hiring intentions across U.S.: Employers in all fifty states report positive hiring intentions and 42 out of 50 states anticipate considerable increases in the typically strong third quarter; 
  • Seven straight quarters of employment growth: Since the 2010 first quarter, employers have reported a positive overall hiring outlook in each survey; and 
  • Many sectors gaining momentum: Employers in nine of thirteen industries surveyed nationally report the strongest overall outlook within their sectors since first quarter 2009.  

“Although employers are not signaling dramatic upswings in hiring plans, there does seem to be hiring energy developing based on sustained year-over-year growth,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “This is also the eleventh consecutive quarter with a single-digit net employment outlook, indicating a level of caution not seen among employers in the last 30 years of data.” 

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed:  

  • 20% anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 3 2011 hiring plans; 
  • 8% expect a decrease in payrolls; 
  • 69% of employers expect no change in their hiring plans; and 
  • 3% of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.  

The Manpower Net Employment Outlook is determined by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity (20%) and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity (8%); this result is then seasonally adjusted, giving the current +8%. 

"Our data shows that one in five employers plan to add staff in the next three months, the highest ratio we've seen since the recovery started," said Prising. "As more employers shift to hiring mode, we are starting to see talented job seekers receive multiple employment offers, and also negotiate for higher salaries.… Employers may want to hire, but they will struggle to find the right person, in the right place, which will bring a level of urgency to developing new recruiting and training strategies." 

Employers in 11 of the 13 industry sectors surveyed have a positive outlook for Quarter 3 2011:  

  • Leisure & Hospitality (+27%); 
  • Mining (+25%); 
  • Wholesale & Retail Trade (+20%); 
  • Professional & Business Services (+19%); 
  • Durable Goods Manufacturing (+17%); 
  • Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+16%); 
  • Transportation & Utilities (+14%); 
  • Construction (+11%); 
  • Information (+11); 
  • Financial Activities (+11%);  
  • and Other Services (+7%).  

 Employers in two industry sectors have a slightly negative outlook:  Government (-1%) and Education & Health Services (-2%).  

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted by an independent, third-party research firm and includes a select sample of more than 18,000 U.S. employers, which represents the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on business establishment count and all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  

The complete results from the U.S. National Manpower Employment Outlook Survey are available here. 


-Sara Kelly