By Ben Penn
March 11 -- The employment outlook for the second quarter of 2014--or net difference between employers expecting to increase staffing and those expecting a decrease--held steady at 13 percent seasonally adjusted, ManpowerGroup reported March 11 from a survey of more than 18,000 public and private sector employers.
The net employment outlook, which was unchanged for the third straight quarter, reflected a decline in the unadjusted share of employers anticipating staffing reductions in the April-May-June period to 4 percent from 5 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2013, according to the Milwaukee-based employment services firm.
“Although we expect measured, stable growth in new hiring for the coming quarter, the good news is that employers anticipate the lowest rate of workforce reductions in nearly four decades,” Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president, said in an accompanying statement. “With 92 percent of U.S. employers planning to hire or keep their staff levels steady, there is a sense of optimism that demand for goods and services is getting more predictable, allowing employers to feel more comfortable about business growth.”
More than seven in 10 employers (73 percent) said they don't plan on making staffing changes next quarter, identical to the second quarter 2013 figure, while 19 percent expect to boost their payrolls, up from 18 percent one year earlier.
The remaining 4 percent of employers were undecided or did not know about their second quarter hiring plans.
After the outlook briefly fell into negative territory in 2009, ManpowerGroup has reported net positive employment expectations each quarter since the last three months of 2009--coinciding with the start of a post-recession period. The outlook has climbed slowly since then, still lagging behind the range of roughly 20 percent in 2005 and 2006, before the recession hit.
The latest official hiring data from the Labor Department showed the public and private sectors combined to hire 4.5 million workers in January, a slight decline from the 4.6 million hired the prior month (see related story).
The most optimistic employment outlook levels continued to be concentrated in low-paying sectors, such as leisure and hospitality (20 percent) and wholesale and retail trade (19 percent).
Outlooks for the April-May-June period were weakest in nondurable goods manufacturing (6 percent), miscellaneous services (7 percent), education and health services (8 percent) and financial activities (8 percent).
Anticipated hiring outpaced expected staffing reductions in all four regions in the second quarter of 2014, led by employers in the South and Midwest (13 percent each) and followed by the West (12 percent) and Northeast (11 percent).
ManpowerGroup compiles the outlook from a nationwide survey of a representative sample of employers conducted by an independent research firm.
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