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Manpower: Fourth Quarter Hiring to Hold Steady in U.S.
No significant slippage in employers’ hiring plans bodes well for U.S.

By Bill Leonard  9/13/2012
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The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey forecast, released Sept. 11, 2012, finds that employer hiring plans for the final three months of the year are essentially unchanged from the third quarter.

“Despite tumultuous global economies, election uncertainty, record heat waves and health care reform, employers indicate that steady but cautious hiring progress will continue,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas, in a press release. “The survey results show that companies are staying very cautious about adding staff, but they still have the intention to increase their workforces into the fourth quarter of this year.”

Researchers for Manpower surveyed more than 18,000 U.S.-based employers representing all 50 states, the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to measure hiring intentions between October and December 2012. Results show that 72 percent of respondents expected no change in hiring, while 17 percent actually anticipate an increase in hiring during the final quarter of 2012. Only 9 percent of the respondents reported that they expected to reduce their staffing levels, resulting in a net employment outlook of plus 8 percent, notes the survey.

Once analysts factored in seasonal variations, the report concluded that the U.S. net employment outlook increased to plus 11 percent—which is the strongest fourth quarter hiring outlook since 2007, according to the report.

The fact that a significant majority of respondents expected no change in hiring bodes well for the U.S. job market, Manpower officials contend.

Employment by Sector, Region

When industry sector data are compared quarter-over-quarter, employers in the education and health services sector anticipate a slight uptick in hiring plans. The survey shows that quarter-over-quarter the hiring pace is expected to decrease by varying degrees in the following industries: wholesale and retail trade, information, financial activities, government, mining, durable goods manufacturing, professional and business services, and “other services” sectors. There are also quarter-over-quarter decreases in the hiring pace anticipated in the construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality sectors.

“Once again, the data show stability and continued, moderate growth,” Prising said. “In most industry sectors, steady progression appears to be a trend. Education and health services [sector], in particular, is stronger than it has been in the past three years.”

All four U.S. regions represented in the report also show a positive net employment outlook, and quarter-over-quarter plans to add workers remain consistent among employers in all regions. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, employers in the South region report the strongest outlook at plus 12 percent. Compared to this time during 2011, employers across all regions project a slight increase in the hiring pace for the fourth quarter.

The fact that nearly three-quarters of all employers plan to keep their staffing levels steady could have a further calming effect on what has been a weakened and underperforming U.S. job market since the recession of 2007-09, Manpower researchers concluded.

Bill Leonard is senior writer for SHRM.

Related Articles

Global Job Market: Manpower Report Includes Positive Indicators, SHRM Online Staffing Management Discipline, Sept. 17, 2012

Stronger Hiring Rate for September 2012 Expected, SHRM Online Staffing Management Discipline, Sept. 6, 2012

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