updated 9/12/2006 1:51:23 PM ET 2006-09-12T17:51:23

The jobs outlook remains stable, as 28 percent of U.S. companies plan to increase staffing levels in the fourth quarter this year, according to a survey of 14,000 employers released Tuesday.

The report marks the 11th straight quarter that more than 20 percent of the companies surveyed said they plan to add staff. The expected staffing level increase was 31 percent for the third quarter of this year, according to the survey by Milwaukee-based global staffing firm Manpower Inc.

Soaring energy costs and high fuel prices haven’t dimmed hiring, said Jonas Prising, president of Manpower North America.

Eight percent of companies surveyed expect to reduce employment in the fourth quarter, while 58 percent expect no change. Six percent of companies are unsure of their plans, according to the quarterly survey, which has been conducted since 1962.

Plans to hire in the majority of industries were strong, including mining, which rebounded from a hiring dip in the third quarter. Thirty-one percent of mining companies said they planned to increase staffing while 8 percent said they would reduce payrolls. Last quarter, 24 percent of mining companies surveyed said they planned to increase staffing levels and 3 percent said they planned to reduce levels.

In the construction industry, new commercial projects are helping maintain construction levels despite slower housing starts, Prising said. The Commerce Department reported earlier this month that construction spending dropped by the largest amount in nearly five years in July, another sign of the segment’s growing weakness.

Twenty-seven percent of companies in the construction industry said they planned to increase staffing levels and 13 percent said they planned to reduce payrolls. Seasonally adjusted numbers show a 24 percent net rise in staffing levels, the same as last quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the hiring pace in the finance, insurance and real estate industry will slow from the third quarter, with 23 percent of companies surveyed saying they planned to increase staffing levels in the fourth quarter, down from 27 percent in the third quarter. Six percent of companies in these industries said they planned to reduce staffs in the latest quarter, up from 4 percent in the last quarter.

Workers with technical skills in areas such as welding, health care, engineering and information technology remain in great demand, Prising said. But workers with little training aren’t so lucky, he said.

“The workers where you only have say high school or a few years of college without key technical skills, they’ll have a harder time,” Prising said.

All the nation’s regions reported slight drops in hiring, with companies in the West continuing to lead the country in boosting payrolls. In that region, 31 percent of companies said they planned to increase staffing, down from 36 percent last quarter. Nine percent of companies in the West said they planned to decrease, up from 8 percent last quarter.

In the South, 30 percent of companies plan to increase staffing levels this quarter, down from 32 percent. Seven percent plan to decrease, up from 5 percent last quarter.

In the Northeast, 28 percent of companies said they plan to increase staff, down from 30 percent last quarter, and 9 percent said they plan to decrease, up from 6 percent in the same period.

In the Midwest, 26 percent of companies expect to increase staff levels in the fourth quarter while 9 percent of companies plan to decrease hiring. Last quarter, 28 percent of companies in the region reported expecting to increase staffing levels while 6 percent said they would decrease.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

Data: Latest rates in the US

Home equity rates View rates in your area
Home equity type Today +/- Chart
$30K HELOC FICO 2.79%
$30K home equity loan FICO 5.78%
$75K home equity loan FICO 4.54%
Credit card rates View more rates
Card type Today +/- Last Week
Low Interest Cards 13.57%
13.57%
Cash Back Cards 17.91%
17.91%
Rewards Cards 17.15%
17.15%
Source: Bankrate.com