The nation's employers are slowly becoming more positive about the economy, with a greater number of businesses planning to add jobs in the second quarter and fewer planning layoffs, according to a new survey released Tuesday by Manpower (MAN).
Among the more than 18,000 employers polled in its latest survey, Milwaukee-based Manpower found 16% of companies expect to increase staff levels during the three-month period that begins April 1, up from 14% during the first quarter. Meanwhile, just 6% of employers expect to lay off workers, a decline from 10% during the first three months of the year.
According to Manpower's own measures, the survey results show a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 8%, consistent with the previous three months. That percentage is higher than the second-quarter 2010, when it stood at 6%.
"The Same Measured Hiring Pace"
That's more good news for the tens of millions of Americans who are still without work. Last week, the Labor Department reported employers created 192,000 jobs in February, and the nation's overall unemployment rate fell to 8.9%.
Still, the Manpower survey found that 74% of employers aren't planning to do any new hiring in the coming quarter -- though they aren't planning any layoffs, either. The remaining 4% of survey participants were unsure about their hiring plans.
"We should see the same measured hiring pace in the U.S. as we did in the first quarter," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower chairman and CEO, in a statement released with the latest findings. "However, unadjusted industry sector data reveals some positive signs." Among them, Joerres noted, "is a notable uptick in the Manufacturing-Durables sector where nearly one in five employers expect to increase payrolls."
Of the 13 business sectors represented in the survey, all expect improvements in hiring during the second quarter, with
mining and the leisure and hospitality industries expressing the most optimism. Employers in 10 of the 13 industry sectors expect hiring to increase from three months ago, Manpower said.
The survey showed that confidence among U.S. businesses is spreading geographically, with the strongest hiring expected in Western states, where expectations for new-job creation are the highest they've been since the final months of 2008.
Compared to one year ago, a slight increase in employment prospects is expected in the Midwest, South and West, while the Northeast is steady, Manpower said. Moving into the second quarter, employers in the Northeast, South and West report relatively stable hiring conditions, compared to the previous quarter, while employers in the Midwest expect a slight drop in employment plans.