December 13, 2011 – U.S. employers expect hiring to increase slightly in the first quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released by ManpowerGroup. When seasonal variations are removed from the survey results, the Net Employment Outlook for Quarter 1 2012 is plus-nine percent, an increase from the plus-seven percent Outlook during Quarter 4 2011, and stable compared to one year ago when the Outlook was plus-eight percent. This represents the most promising hiring Outlook since 2008. Seven percent of employers report they are unsure of their hiring intentions going into the new year. The rise from three to seven percent is the most significant quarterly increase since 1977 and represents the highest percentage of uncertain employers surveyed since 2005. Employers in all four U.S. regions surveyed report a positive Net Employment Outlook, with those in the Midwest region reporting the strongest at plus-10 percent. Supported by an increase in the manufacturing industry sectors, this represents the most favorable hiring Outlook for the Midwest since Quarter 3 2008. Employers in the West region continue to offer the weakest Outlook with plus-six percent. “Slow, but steady momentum has improved employer confidence, which is likely why more employers are planning to hire in the first quarter,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “This uptick is encouraging, but the historically high proportion of employers that are unsure of their hiring plans indicates continued uncertainty about the future and ongoing caution when it comes to staffing plans.” Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 14 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 1 2012 hiring plans, while nine percent expect a decrease in payrolls.