Employers to Continue Hiring Plans into Final Quarter of 2019

U.S. businesses report strong hiring intentions, according to the latest “Employment Outlook Survey” by ManpowerGroup. Let's go inside the latest forecast and see which sectors and regions are in growth mode. Search expert Richard Risch then weighs in.

September 10, 2019 – U.S. employers expect the hiring pace to remain positive in the fourth quarter with hiring intentions improving one percentage point compared to a year ago, according to the latest “Employment Outlook Survey,” released by ManpowerGroup. Employers in all U.S. regions and industry sectors said they were expecting headcount to grow. This is the seventh consecutive year of double-digit hiring outlooks in the U.S., according to the survey of more than 11,500 U.S. employers.

“We’re still in a time of unprecedented opportunity for U.S. workers as there are more open jobs than there are people actively seeking work,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “While the global economic landscape is increasingly uncertain, employers still intend to hire across all industries.”

“Businesses are staying focused on growth and we’ve seen more commit to investing in upskilling their people – that is, teaching them new skills for future jobs – in the last two months than we have in the last two years,” she said. “We’re advising clients on how to align these training programs with future roles, creating career pathways to help people stay employable for the long-term.”

Hiring By Sector

Payroll gains were expected in all 13 U.S. industry sectors for the fourth quarter of 2019: leisure & hospitality (+27 percent), professional & business services (+24 percent), wholesale & retail trade (+23 percent), transportation & utilities (+22 percent), construction (+21 percent), government (+19 percent), durable goods manufacturing (+18 percent), education & health services (+15 percent), other services (+15 percent), financial activities (+13 percent), mining (+13 percent), nondurable goods manufacturing (+13 percent), information (+10 percent). In a comparison with the third quarter of 2019, employers in seven of the 13 national industry sectors report relatively stable hiring intentions: construction, education and health services, government, leisure and hospitality, durable goods manufacturing, other services, and wholesale and retail trade. 

Employers in the national mining sector reported a moderate decline in hiring sentiment in comparison with the previous quarter, resulting in the weakest outlook in two years. Hiring prospects were slightly weaker in five nationwide industry sectors when compared with the previous quarter, including the financial activities sector where the outlook was the weakest reported in two years. Employers in the information, nondurable goods manufacturing, professional and business services, and transportation and utilities sectors also reported slightly weaker hiring plans.

Hiring by Region

Employers in all four regions in the U.S. showed a positive outlook for the coming quarter. In the Midwest, employers in 21 percent of the businesses surveyed expected to grow payrolls during the next three months. With five percent of employers expecting to trim payrolls and 73 percent anticipating no change. Leisure and hospitality sector employers in the Midwest reported considerably stronger hiring intentions for the next three months when compared with the previous quarter. Employers in three Midwest industry sectors anticipated moderately stronger hiring activity in comparison with the second quarter of 2019: construction, government and information.

Northeast employers in 21 percent of businesses surveyed said they expect workforce gains during the coming quarter, while five percent said they anticipate a decrease and 73 percent expected no change. Leisure and hospitality employers in the Northeast reported moderately stronger hiring plans for the coming quarter in comparison with the third quarter. Slightly stronger hiring intentions were reported in two of the region’s industry sectors: construction and other services. Northeast employers in the durable goods manufacturing sector reported a relatively stable hiring pace when compared with the previous quarter. Employers in the region’s financial activities sector reported considerably weaker hiring prospects in a quarter-over-quarter comparison. Outlooks were moderately weaker in three Northeast industry sectors: government, information, and professional and business services.


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Employers in 22 percent of businesses surveyed in the South said they expect to add to payrolls during the October to December period, with five percent of employers expecting to trim payrolls and 72 percent anticipating no change. Durable goods manufacturing sector employers in the South reported a slight improvement in hiring intentions when compared with the previous quarter. The hiring pace remained relatively stable in four of the South’s industry sectors when compared with the third quarter of 2019: Education and health services, information, leisure and hospitality, and wholesale and retail trade.

In the West, employers in 23 percent of businesses surveyed said they anticipate an increase in payrolls during the next three months, while six percent said they expect a decrease and 70 percent expect no change. Employers in two of the West’s industry sectors reported moderately stronger labor markets in comparison with the third quarter of 2019: government, and wholesale and retail trade. Slightly stronger hiring prospects were reported for the other services sector. Hiring plans remained relatively stable in three of the region’s industry sectors quarter-over-quarter: construction, durable goods manufacturing, and professional and business services.

Global Outlook

ManpowerGroup interviewed over 59,000 employers in 44 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 2019 as compared to the current quarter?”

The ManpowerGroup research for the final quarter of 2019 reveals that employers expect to grow payrolls in 43 of 44 countries and territories surveyed in the period up to the end of December 2019, with employers in one country forecasting no change to hiring intentions. The strongest hiring prospects were reported in Japan, Taiwan, the U.S., India and Greece, while the weakest hiring activity was expected in Spain, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Costa Rica and Switzerland.

In a comparison with the previous quarter, employers in 15 of 44 countries and territories reported stronger hiring intentions, while employers in 23 said they expect a weaker hiring pace, with no reported change in six. When compared with the fourth quarter of 2018, hiring plans also strengthened in 15 countries and territories, declined in 23 and were unchanged in six.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why the Job Market will Continue to Flourish in 2019

Employers expected to add to payrolls in 25 of 26 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region countries surveyed during the coming quarter, while employers in Spain expected a flat labor market. In a comparison with the previous quarter, hiring plans strengthened in 10 countries but weakened in 12. When compared with last year at this time, Outlooks improved in eight countries, but declined in 14. The strongest hiring intentions for the coming quarter were reported in Greece and Slovenia, while employers in Spain, the Czech Republic and Switzerland reported the weakest hiring sentiment.

Workforce gains were expected in all eight Asia Pacific countries and territories during the October to December 2019 period. When compared with the previous quarter, hiring opportunities strengthened in three countries and territories, but weakened in four. In a comparison with the final quarter of 2018, employers reported stronger hiring plans in two countries and territories, but hiring prospects declined in four. The region’s strongest labor markets in the next three months were expected in Japan and Taiwan, while employers in China and Singapore anticipated the weakest hiring pace.


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Payroll gains were anticipated in all 10 Americas countries surveyed during the final quarter of 2019. When compared with the prior quarter, Outlooks improved in two Americas countries, but decreased in seven. In a comparison with this time one year ago, hiring intentions strengthened in five countries but weakened in five. Employers in the U.S. and Canada expected the strongest hiring activity during the forthcoming quarter, while the region’s weakest labor markets were expected in Argentina and Costa Rica.

Search Consultant Weighs In

“I always look forward to the Manpower report on nationwide hiring intentions,” said Richard Risch, founder, chairman and CEO of New York-based executive search firm Risch Group. “First, I am a Milwaukee boy, born and raised. So I have several close contacts at the firm that I stay in touch with to talk Packers, Brewers and, of course, hiring trends.”

“Second, it helps our firm get a macro view of the employment trends underway in various sectors and geographies,” he said. “As a boutique search firm, we are constrained from having a view that extends beyond our own relationships. So we depend on reports that confirm our view of hiring. Manpower never disappoints.”

Related: The Global Recruiting Sector is in Growth Mode, But Challenges Loom

“That said, as to the report, it coincides with what we have been experiencing in the sectors we work in so far this year,” said Mr. Risch. “In the financial services space, it has been a year of the haves and have nots. Asset managers like Neuberger Berman are killing it with substantial inflows. This despite the trend of assets moving to non-active managers. Others are struggling to retain assets and are shrinking staff size. Hedge funds have turned green for the first time in a while, with a first-quarter performance best since 2012.”

“We continue to book searches in the space,” he said. “Private equity continues to be hot space attracting new assets monthly. Lastly, many of the wealth managers are doing well, with all of them in hiring mode. The indie RIA space may be the hottest, with platforms like Dynasty providing an excellent model for independence. We continue to see work coming our way here.”

“Our tech practice is focused on cybersecurity and fintech,” Mr. Risch said. “The demand for talent in both sectors remains white hot across the entire country. We have several searches underway in both spaces. We expect that to continue for a long time. That’s the view from this small, but wired-in search firm.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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