The pace of hiring for U.S. companies in the fourth quarter is expected to be consistent with the solid employment activity of the past six months, and much improved from a year ago, according to Manpower Inc.
"U.S. employers have predicted solid employment activity for the past six months, and they expect to sustain that level of hiring through the end of the year," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chief executive officer of Manpower, the second largest staffing company in the United States.
According to Manpower's latest employment outlook survey, released Tuesday, twenty-eight percent of U.S. employers plan to add to their payrolls in the October to December period, according to the survey by Manpower. That is up from 22 percent a year earlier but lower than 30 percent for the July to September period.
The percentage of employers intending to shrink their workforce fell to 7 percent from 11 percent a year earlier but was up slightly from 6 percent for the July to September period, according to the survey.
Given the expected new hires and the shrinkage, the survey showed that the net employment outlook to be 21 percent, slightly lower than it was in the third quarter survey.
But according to Manpower, when seasonal variations that affect employment are removed from the data, the employment outlook for October to December is the same as it was in the previous two quarters and an indication that employers intend to keep hiring stable through the end of the year, according to the survey.
Like the previous two quarters, the job forecast is stronger than it has been since the beginning months of 2001, Manpower said.
"Companies are continuing to hire but they are doing it in a very measured way and they are taking as many data points from their business and economy and hiring appropriately," Joerres said. "We are still digging ourselves out of a very deep hole. Companies are not unleashing hiring until they see real demand for their products and services."
"Leading the pack is manufacturing, which has lagged for so many quarters, and that is quite positive for many parts of the country, which is still dependent on manufacturing," Joerres said.
Joerres also said that hiring in the retail trade for the holiday season is also higher than last year, according to the survey, which polls 16,000 U.S. employers and is adjusted for seasonal spikes and dips.
Manpower's study revealed that the percentage of companies that do not foresee changes in their workforce fell to 60 percent from 62 percent a year earlier but rose from 59 percent for the third quarter.