Only 29 percent of companies expect to add new positions in the next three months, which is typically the best time of the year for hiring, according to a survey of 14,000 employers being released Tuesday.
The survey by Milwaukee-based global staffing company Manpower Inc. also showed 7 percent of companies said they expect to reduce employment.
In the same quarter last year, a 31 percent of employers predicted they’d increase hiring and a 6 percent expected a decrease.
People looking for jobs in the summer months will have to prove to employers they have the right skills, Manpower CEO Jeff Joerres said.
“There’s still demand out there for people,” Joerres said. “The demand will only be used in very judicious ways. But they are interested in hiring and they’re going to do it carefully.”
In the latest report, the majority of employers — 58 percent — expected no change in hiring between July and September, while 6 percent of companies were unsure of their plans.
For the April-June quarter, 28 percent of employers said they planned to increase hiring and 7 percent said they planned a decline.
The latest survey continues a 14-quarter stretch of fairly strong hiring intentions, in which more than 20 percent of companies surveyed said they plan to add to their staffs.
The country saw a 15-quarter streak of hiring intentions above 20 percent from 1998 to the end of 2001, though that range saw more ups and downs than the current stretch, Joerres said. The 16th quarter — the first of 2002 — saw increased hiring intentions drop to 16 percent from 24 percent in the previous quarter, he said.
Hiring ebbs and flows, he said, so people will be watching in the next quarter to see if the pattern repeats itself.
“Normally you reach an inflection point like this, and you either pull back up or you start to come down,” Joerres said. “And in this case, we’re still seeing a pretty levelheaded hiring market.”
The quarterly survey, which has been conducted since 1962, shows the biggest slowdowns, in a year-by-year comparison, are expected in wholesale and retail trade, finance, insurance and real estate and construction.
Thirty-six percent of construction companies expected to increase hiring in the third quarter, compared with 40 percent in the same period last year, the survey said. Seven percent expected to decrease hiring, compared with 3 percent last year.
In the finance, insurance and real estate sector, 22 percent of companies expected to increase hiring, down from 27 percent at the same time last year. Six percent said they planned to decrease hiring, up from 4 percent last year.
People will notice these changes, Joerres said, because jobs won’t be as plentiful, or convenient.
“They just might not be available where you live,” he said. “Therefore, you have some pretty serious life decisions to make.”
The mining industry is on an upswing with 31 percent of companies planning to increase hiring, and 5 percent planning to decrease, compared with 24 percent expecting an increase in the year-ago period and 3 percent a decrease.
Joerres said the U.S. mining industry is seeing demand for exports grow by burgeoning economies like China.
Hiring in transportation, public utilities and manufacturing should be about the same as last year, the survey said.
Regionally, growth in the West remains strong, as 36 percent of employers said they planned to increase hiring, up from 31 percent last quarter. Eight percent of employers said they planned to decrease hiring, down from 9 percent last quarter.
The South remained stable with 29 percent of employers there expecting to increase hiring next quarter, the same as last quarter. Seven percent expected to decrease hiring, up from 6 percent last quarter.
The Midwest also saw little change, with 27 percent of companies in the region reporting they will hire in the third quarter, and 7 percent planning a decline. Both of those numbers were the same as last quarter.
The Northeast was stable, with 27 percent of companies saying they planned to increase staff, down from 28 percent last quarter. Eight percent in the region said they plan a decrease, the same as last quarter.