U.S. employers remain cautious in their hiring intentions for the third quarter,
according to the latest employment survey by Manpower Inc.
Even though the 16,000 U.S. employers surveyed anticipate some job opportunities
in the July-September period, their hiring forecast has decreased since the
second quarter survey and has dropped lower than it was a year ago at this time.
Of the U.S. employers that were surveyed, 20 percent said they plan to increase
hiring activity for the third quarter, while 9 percent expect a decrease in
job prospects. A solid 65 percent of employers expect no change in hiring, and
6 percent are uncertain of their employment plans. When the seasonal variations
are removed from the data, the outlook is reduced to the lowest level in 12
"One factor we must consider is that the data was collected in April,
at the height of both the SARS outbreak and the war in Iraq," says Jeffrey
A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "For that reason, we could
find that hiring activity is slightly more positive in the upcoming quarter
than survey results are indicating, as employers see progress in the resolution
of these issues."
Employers in five of the 10 industry sectors estimate that their third quarter
hiring activity will be the softest it has been in more than a decade, including:
construction, wholesale & retail trade, education, services and public administration.
"Job seekers will continue to face difficulty from July through September
in many industry sectors, but particularly in education and non-durable goods
manufacturing, where employment levels are projected to be the lowest we have
seen in the third quarter for more than 20 years," adds Joerres. "In
the education and public administration sectors, the number of employers planning
to decrease job levels actually outpaces those anticipating increased hiring
activity. Job prospects are stronger in the finance, insurance & real estate
sector where the hiring pace is expected to remain steady from second quarter
Employment estimates across all four regions of the United States are relatively
consistent with the overall national outlook, although employers in the South
report stronger hiring intentions than other regions. The Northeast expects
the slowest hiring pace in the country for the third consecutive quarter.