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December 13, 2005
Steady Hiring Outlook for 2006

Twenty-three percent of employers anticipate an increase in hiring activity for the first quarter of 2006, while 10 percent expect to decrease staff levels, according to a quaterly survey of 16,000 employers by Manpower, Inc.

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The survey found that 61 percent of employers surveyed foresee no change in hiring plans, while 6 percent are unsure of their staffing needs. The firm says that the seasonally adjusted net employment outlook for the first three months of the year is 20 percent, identical to the fourth quarter of 2005 and nearly the same as a year ago.

"U.S. businesses are not aggressively seeking to increase staff levels as they enter the new year," says Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc. "Instead, they are looking back over the past several quarters and are concluding that hiring is still on target with their operational needs."

Employers in six out of 10 industry sectors surveyed foresee minimal changes in hiring activity as they move from the fourth quarter into the new year, including Durable and Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Wholesale/Retail Trade, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, Education and Public Administration.

Conversely, the hiring pace is likely to soften from the fourth quarter in the Transportation/Public Utilities and Services sectors, accoridng to the survey. A more visible slowdown is expected in the Mining sector, where hiring managers report a moderate slide in employment plans.

Among the U.S. regions, stronger hiring patterns are in store for the South and the West when compared with the fourth quarter outlook. Little change is anticipated in the Midwest, while employers in the Northeast foresee a noticeable chill in hiring.

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