US employers report the strongest first-quarter hiring plans since 2007, according to the first-quarter 2016 Manpower employment outlook survey released today by ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN).
Globally, employer hiring confidence is strongest in India, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and the US. The weakest — and only negative — forecasts are reported in Brazil, Finland and France.
ManpowerGroup’s survey found 20% of US employers plan to increase staff in the first quarter, 6% plan to decrease staff, 72% expect no change in staff and 2% responded “didn’t know.” That results in a net employment outlook of 17% when seasonally adjusted. In comparison, the fourth-quarter employment outlook was 18% with seasonal adjustment.
“We’ve seen strong jobs growth in the US throughout 2015, along with declining unemployment and increasing wages, which brings a continued optimism for the start of 2016,” said ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising. “We expect these broad trends to continue going into 2016, despite ongoing challenges in certain sectors like energy and manufacturing, as well as in export-driven industries. As the unemployment rate comes down and the labor market continues to tighten, employers will increasingly feel the impact of rising wages and the ongoing skills mismatch.”
Employers in Hawaii, Florida, Kansas and Michigan indicated the strongest net employment outlooks, while New Jersey, Wyoming, Illinois and Alaska project the weakest outlooks.
Employers in all 13 industry sectors reported a net positive outlook. The industries with the highest seasonally adjusted net employment outlooks are leisure and hospitality at 30%; transportation and utilities at 23%; wholesale and retail trade at 22%; and professional and business services at 18%. Mining and “other services” had the lowest seasonally adjusted net employment outlooks at 1% and 10% respectively.
All four US regions surveyed reported a positive net employment outlook. Employers in the West reported the strongest seasonally adjusted outlook at 18%. The Midwest and South regions followed at 17% each, while the Northeast reported a seasonally adjusted outlook of 16%.
Compared to the same time last year, employers in the South, West and Midwest foresee relatively stable hiring for the first quarter, while employers in the Northeast anticipate a slight increase in hiring.
ManpowerGroup’s employment outlook survey includes responses from more than 11,000 US employers.
Canada hiring trends
Canadian employers anticipate a moderate hiring climate in the first quarter, with employers in the transportation and public utilities sector reporting the strongest outlooks, according to ManpowerGroup’s data for Canada.
In Canada, 9% of employers expect to increase staffing levels, 7% anticipate a decrease, 81% forecast no change and 3% are unsure about hiring plans. This results in a net employment outlook of 8% on a seasonally adjusted basis, a two percentage point increase from both the fourth-quarter outlook and the outlook for the first quarter of 2015.
“We are seeing some positive signs for Canadian job seekers, with overall employment in the country surpassing 18 million for the first time,” said Michelle Dunnill, Manpower area manager for Toronto, Mississauga and Markham. “Employment in natural resources continues its downward trend, particularly in Alberta. However, we expect modest gains overall in the coming quarter, led by stronger growth in the transportation, construction and manufacturing — durables sectors.”
Employers in Atlantic Canada expect the most upbeat hiring climate for the coming quarter, reporting a net employment outlook of 10%. Employers in Ontario anticipate a mild hiring climate with an outlook of 8%, while employers in Western Canada and Quebec project a fair hiring pace with outlooks of 7% and 5%, respectively.
The manufacturing-durables industry reported the highest seasonally adjusted outlook at 29%, followed by finance, insurance and real estate at 27%. Education posted the lowest outlook at -5%, followed by construction at 6% and mining at 7%.
ManpowerGroup’s employment outlook survey includes responses from more than 1,900 Canadian employers.