Employers Looking to Increase Q4 Hiring

September 13, 2016 – U.S. employers indicate a slight increase in hiring plans for the final three months of 2016, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released today by ManpowerGroup.

Taking into account seasonal variations, the Net Employment Outlook for the fourth quarter is up 18 percent, which matches the strongest post-recession Outlook since 2007. Hiring plans nationwide improved by three percentage points compared to the previous quarter, with all 13 industry sectors planning to increase their payrolls.

Of the more than 11,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 22 percent anticipate increasing staff levels during the fourth quarter. This is a one percent decrease from the third, and a one percent increase from Q4 of 2015. Six percent of employers expect workforce reductions and 69 percent expect no change in hiring plans. The final three percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions.

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U.S. Hiring Plans by Sector

Nationwide, employers in all 13 industry sectors expect payrolls to increase during the fourth quarter, based on seasonally adjusted figures: leisure & hospitality (+30 percent), wholesale & retail trade (+22 percent), transportation & utilities (+20 percent), professional & business services (+17 percent), government (+15 percent), nondurable goods manufacturing (+15 percent), construction (+14 percent), financial activities (+14 percent), information (+14 percent), education & health services (+13 percent), durable goods manufacturing (+11 percent), other services (+10 percent) and mining (+ six percent).

When compared to Q3 2016, mining sector employers across the U.S. anticipate a considerable increase in hiring. Moderately stronger hiring activity is expected by employers in the leisure & hospitality sector while slightly stronger hiring prospects are reported for government, financial activities and wholesale & retail trade sectors.

Relatively stable hiring plans are reported nationwide for the following sectors: construction, information, nondurable goods manufacturing, other services, transportation & utilities, education & health and professional & business services. Staffing levels are expected to decline slightly in the durable goods manufacturing sector when compared with Q3 of 2016.

Employers Cautiously Hesitant

“Employers are optimistic, though hesitant, with their hiring intentions and we’re pleased to see levels we were seeing before the recession,” said Kip Wright, senior vice president of Manpower North America. “While employers are looking to grow their workforces, many are challenged to find candidates with the right skills. As the hiring outlook continues to improve, attracting and retaining skilled talent will become even more difficult. That’s why we’re hearing more about companies like AT&T and Marriott that are adopting strategies to develop their employees’ skill sets and competing to attract those with the most in-demand skills – especially in industries like IT and engineering.”

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U.S. Hiring Plans by Regions, Industry Sectors and Metro Areas / States

Net Employment Outlooks strengthened in all four U.S. regions surveyed when compared with the third quarter. Hiring prospects are slightly stronger in the Northeast, the South and the West when compared with Q3 2016. In the Midwest, the Outlook remains relatively stable. Compared to one year ago at this time, hiring plans are slightly stronger in the West and remain relatively stable in the Midwest, the Northeast and the South.

Among the 50 states, employers in Hawaii, Tennessee, Utah, Montana, Florida and Arizona report the strongest Net Employment Outlooks, while Alaska, New Jersey, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and Indiana project the weakest.

Among employers in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects are expected in Honolulu, HI; Provo-Orem, UT; Raleigh, NC; Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; Charleston, SC. The weakest are projected in Oklahoma City, OK; Seattle, WA; Buffalo, NY; Kansas City, MO; Worcester, MA.

Department of Labor’s August Unemployment Results

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report seems to support the notion that employers are in hiring mode.

Employers added 151,000 jobs last month as the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent. Employment in food services continued to trend up during the month (+34.000). Over the year, the industry has added 312,000. The social assistance sector added 22,000 jobs over the month, with most of the growth in individual and family services (+17,000). Financial activities employment continued on an upward trend in August (+15,000), with a gain in securities, commodity contracts, and alternative investments (+6,000). Over the year, financial activities has added 167,000 jobs. And healthcare employment continued to trend up during the month (+14,000). In August, hospitals added 11,000 jobs, and employment in ambulatory healthcare services trended up (+13,000).

Global Employment Outlook

ManpowerGroup interviewed nearly 59,000 employers across 43 countries and territories to forecast labor market activity in the fourth quarter. All participants were asked, “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of December 2016 as compared to the current quarter?”

Staffing levels are expected to grow by varying degrees in 42 of 43 countries and territories through the end of the year. Only employers in Brazil expect payrolls to decline in the October to December time frame. Uncertainty associated with the slowdown of the global economy, the Brexit referendum and continued financial market volatility appears to have had little impact on employer hiring confidence.

Slightly more than half of the forecasts strengthen by varying margins when compared to results reported three months ago, with hiring plans improving in 23 of 43 countries and territories, remaining unchanged in nine, and declining in 11. Outlooks improve in 21 countries and territories when compared with Q4 of 2015, are unchanged in six, and decline in 15.

Hiring confidence is strongest in India, Japan, Taiwan and the U.S., while employers in Brazil, Belgium, Finland, Italy and Switzerland report the weakest hiring plans.

In the Americas region, fourth quarter workforce gains are expected in nine of 10 countries. However, employer confidence is mixed when compared to prior reports with forecasts improving by varying margins in five countries in comparison to the July to September period, declining in three and remaining unchanged in two. When compared to Q4 of 2015, forecasts weaken in five countries, strengthen in two, and are unchanged in three. Employers in the U.S., Colombia and Mexico report the region’s most optimistic fourth quarter hiring plans, while opportunities for job seekers are expected to be weakest in Brazil.

Employers in all 25 countries in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region expect some level of staffing level growth over the next three months. In a quarter-over-quarter comparison, forecasts improve in 12 countries, weaken in six and are unchanged in seven. When compared year-over-year, job prospects are expected to improve in 16 countries, decline in six and remain unchanged in two. Employers in Ireland and Israel report the region’s strongest fourth quarter hiring plans, while the weakest are reported in Belgium, Finland, Italy and Switzerland.

As was the case in the third quarter report, employers in each of the EMEA region’s 25 countries expect varying degrees of positive hiring activity. Job gains are expected in all eight countries and territories surveyed in the Asia Pacific region. Hiring plans improve in six countries and territories in comparison to Q3 of 2016 and decline in only two.

However, fourth quarter forecasts weaken in four countries and territories when compared year-over-year, improve in three and are unchanged in one. For the fifth consecutive quarter, employers in India report the most optimistic regional and global hiring plans. China’s forecast improves slightly from three months ago, but employers here again report the region’s weakest fourth quarter hiring plans.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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