A Survey Offers a Glimmer of Hiring Hope

Manpower Inc. latest numbers "may suggest a much needed pause in downsizing in the first quarter."
Stephen TaubDecember 9, 2008

Even as the drumbeat of layoffs grows more insistent, one report suggests that the unnerving trend may abate sooner than many experts fear.

According to Manpower Inc.’s quarterly Employment Outlook Survey of global hiring trends, the number of U.S. companies planning no change in their hiring intentions is considerably higher than during the 2001 recession. “This may suggest a much needed pause in downsizing in the first quarter,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower’s chairman and CEO.

Specifically, 67 percent of U.S. employers are saying that they will make no change to their workforces, up eight percentage points from last quarter. And in general, the survey finds that that employers in 25 of 33 countries and territories still expect positive hiring activity in the coming quarter. In 30 locales, however, the pace of hiring is predicted to slow from three months ago.

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Year-over-year hiring forecasts also are weaker in 25 countries and territories, and in 21, employers are reporting the weakest hiring plans since the survey was established there by Manpower. “The global employment picture for the first quarter of the new year is noticeably weaker and the vast majority of employers are telling us that they will take a ‘wait and see’ approach before hiring or further reducing staff,” said Joerres. “Unless they see more positive economic signals they will not add employees and, until then, it will be a rougher road for job seekers.”

The survey, for which more than 71,000 employers were interviewed, found that those with the most active first-quarter hiring plans globally — despite generally weaker hiring patterns — are in the U.S., Peru, India, Costa Rica, Canada, Romania, Colombia, South Africa, Australia, Poland, and China.

Employers in Singapore, Ireland, Spain and Italy reported the least optimistic hiring forecasts.

Only employers in Canada, the U.S., and Switzerland report improved Net Employment Outlooks from three months ago.

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