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US hiring outlook strong for second quarter: ManpowerGroup

March 12 2019

Demand for skilled talent continues to grow as US employers report double-digit hiring intentions for the seventh consecutive year, according to the second-quarter Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released by ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN). US labor market optimism continues as unemployment remains low and employers add workers.

On a global basis, hiring intentions remain positive for the second quarter, with 40 of 44 countries surveyed in the report planning to increase headcount. Croatia, Japan, Greece, the US, Hong Kong and Taiwan reported the strongest outlooks; the weakest labor markets are expected in Argentina, Hungary, Spain and Turkey.

“Employers in almost all countries we surveyed globally report positive hiring outlooks for Q2, with most optimism in the US and Japan,” said ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO Jonas Prising. “Despite anticipated lower growth in some parts of the world, the importance of workforce planning and the fundamental need for human capital is as strong as ever.”

In the US, ManpowerGroup’s survey found 24% of US employer respondents plan to increase staff in the second quarter, up from 23% in the year-ago quarter. Those planning to decrease remained unchanged from the prior-year quarter at 3%, yielding a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 19% for the second quarter, which is down from 20% from the first quarter but an improvement from 18% in the second quarter of 2018.

The net employment outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity. The survey encompassed more than 60,000 employers around the world, including more than 11,600 in the US.

Industry sectors. Employers in all 13 national industry sectors forecast an increase in payrolls during the second quarter. Employers in the leisure and hospitality sector reported the strongest hiring intentions for the first quarter, with 35% planning to increase hiring and a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 25%. Transportation and utilities followed with 28% planning to increase hiring and a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook also of 25%. Net employment outlooks are also strong for wholesale and retail trade, at 24%, as consumers dine out and demand immediate delivery from groceries to fast fashion. Employers in professional and business services reported a 23% employment outlook, fueled by growing demand for knowledge workers with the right balance of human strengths including communication and collaboration and technical capabilities from coding to data analytics.

US regions. All regions in the US reported positive second-quarter hiring plans. Employers in the South and the West reported the strongest hiring prospects with outlooks of 20% each, followed closely by the Midwest at 19% and the Northeast at 18%.

Employers in Indiana, Maine, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina and Oregon reported the strongest employment outlooks. Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects are expected in Greensboro, NC; Denver; Indianapolis; Sacramento, Calif.; Albany, NY; Deltona, Fla.; and Madison, Wis. 

“As U.S. employers continue to report double-digit hiring outlooks, demand for talent is growing across the board from cyber security experts and data analysts to delivery drivers needed to keep up with 24/7 online retail,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. “It’s a skilled worker’s market.”

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