The seasonally adjusted net employment outlook for the October-November-December period is 13 percent, up from 12 percent in the third quarter and 11 percent in the second quarter, the Milwaukee-based employment services firm said.
The net outlook, or the difference between the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in employment in the next three months and those expecting a decrease, also reached its highest fourth quarter mark since the final quarter of 2007--the beginning of the recession--when it was 19 percent.
“We've seen consistent, yet measured, momentum in employers' hiring plans in a steadily improving market,” Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president, said in an accompanying statement. “Employers have reached a level of confidence in navigating unstable conditions, and the strength of the [fourth quarter] 2013 survey data suggests a stronger close to 2013.”
On an unadjusted basis, 18 percent of employers said they plan to boost hiring in the fourth quarter, down from 22 percent in the third quarter, while 8 percent of firms anticipate staffing reductions, up from 6 percent.
The share of companies not expecting any payroll changes in the next three months rose to 72 percent from 70 percent in the third quarter.
The remaining 2 percent of employers were undecided or did not know about their fourth quarter staffing plans.
The largest expected net gain for the final three months was in wholesale and retail trade (22 percent), followed by leisure and hospitality (17 percent) and professional and business services (13 percent).
“That's good news for job seekers looking for employment during the busy holiday season,” said Prising, of the wholesale and retail sector. “Employers bring on new staff when they start seeing increased demand for their products and services, and this intention to hire may signal optimism among U.S. employers.”
The same three industries also boasted the highest levels of hiring intentions, led by leisure and hospitality (28 percent), and followed by wholesale and retail trade (27 percent) and professional and business services (20 percent).
By contrast, the weakest employment outlooks were in miscellaneous services (2 percent), government (4 percent) and construction (5 percent).
Anticipated hiring outpaced expected staffing reductions in all four regions on a seasonally adjusted basis. Employers in the West were the most optimistic about staffing levels (14 percent), followed by the South (13 percent), Midwest (12 percent) and Northeast (11 percent).
Broken down by metropolitan areas, the best places for job seekers to land a job in the fourth quarter are Houston, Cape Coral, Fla., Greenville, S.C., Charlotte, N.C., San Francisco, San Jose, Calif., Austin, Texas and San Antonio. The worst areas are St. Louis, Buffalo, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., Indianapolis, Bridgeport, Conn., Albuquerque, N.M., and Philadelphia, ManpowerGroup said.
Manpower compiles the outlook from a nationwide survey of a representative sample of employers conducted by an independent research firm.
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