Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Shows Most Promising U.S. Hiring Outlook Since 2008

First Quarter Job Prospects Rise Slightly Amid Continued Labor Market Challenges

Dec 07, 2010, 03:00 ET from Manpower

MILWAUKEE, Dec. 7, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Reporting the most optimistic hiring expectations in more than two years, U.S. employers anticipate small staffing gains for Quarter 1 2011, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc. The adjusted Outlook for Quarter 1 2011 is +9%, up from +5% during the same period last year and +5% during Quarter 4 2010.


This quarter's survey reveals:

  • Five Straight Quarters of Employment Growth: Employers report a positive overall hiring Outlook since the start of 2010, according to seasonally adjusted data.
  • Widespread Stability: The percentage of employers planning to keep staff levels unchanged persists at unsurpassed levels, and those in seven of the 13 industry sectors surveyed expect to remain relatively stable compared to Quarter 4 2010.
  • Current Outlook Still Below Past Decade's Average: Despite positive signals, the Quarter 1 2011 Outlook is nearly five percentage points below the average Outlook from 2001 to 2010.

"Across nearly all geographies in the world, the confidence to do additional hiring is improving," said Manpower Inc. Chairman and CEO Jeff Joerres. "However, like the U.S., the lack of robust demand for products and services is creating a persistent level of uncertainty."

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 14% anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 1 2011 hiring plans, while 10% expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +4%. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes +9%. Seventy- three percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The final 3% of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.

"The fact that hiring expectations are trending upward is an encouraging sign," said Jonas Prising, Manpower president of the Americas. "This quarter's survey responses paint a picture of a job market that is easing up, although not as quickly as anyone would like. We are still stuck in first gear, but the ongoing sector-wide improvement we have seen over the last year suggests that the labor market is ready to shift to a higher gear in 2011."

Employers in 11 of the 13 industry sectors surveyed have a positive Outlook for Quarter 1 2011: Leisure & Hospitality (+12%), Professional & Business Services (+11%), Information (+10%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+10%), Mining (+6%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+6%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+6%), Education & Health Services (+6%), Other Services (+4%), Financial Activities (+4%) and Transportation & Utilities (+2%). The January – March 2011 Outlook is negative in the Construction (-9%) industry, while Government (0%) hiring is expected to be flat. Employers in two industry sectors, Mining and Wholesale & Retail Trade, expect their hiring pace to decrease compared to the previous quarter, while those in three industry sectors, Information, Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality, anticipate staff levels picking up. Hiring plans are relatively stable in the remaining industry sectors.

Compared to one year ago, employers in all four U.S. geographic regions surveyed anticipate an increased pace of hiring. Employers in the Midwest and South have the most optimistic view, with a Net Employment Outlook of +10%. The Outlook is +9% for employers in the Northeast and +7% for those in the West. When adjusting for seasonal variations, employers in the Northeast, Midwest and West anticipate a moderate increase in hiring compared to one year ago at this time, while employers in the South expect a slight increase. Quarter over quarter, employers in the West report the strongest growth in job prospects with a six point increase.

*The Net Employment Outlook, often shortened to simply Outlook or NEO, is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

About the Survey

An innovative workforce solutions company, Manpower Inc. releases the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. It is the most comprehensive, forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in size, scope, longevity and area of focus.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted using a validated methodology in accordance with the highest standards in market research. In the U.S., the survey is conducted by an independent, third-party research firm and includes a select sample of more than 18,000 U.S. employers. This sample represents the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on business establishment count and all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The mix of industries within the survey follows the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Supersectors and is structured to be representative of the U.S. economy. With this number of interviews, the overall U.S. survey carries a margin of error of +/-0.61%, with a 90% confidence index.

The complete results and visuals from the U.S. national Manpower Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at, where you will also find the survey results for the 100 MSAs, 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE Manpower