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August 07, 2003
Bay Area Execs Still Downbeat on Hiring

Executives in the San Francisco Bay Area expect the economy to improve over the next six months, but don't expect hiring to follow the same pattern, according to a new survey.

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The Bay Area Council polled 544 executives and found that about 70 percent of respondents said that even if the local economy improves, they do not expect to increase their companies' workforce.

The council notes that the area has already lost more than 341,000 jobs in the last two and-a-half years, the equivalent of more than half the entire working population of the city and county of San Francisco, or more than a third of the entire Santa Clara County workforce.

In the next six months, nearly a fifth, or 18 percent, of respondents plan to decrease their workforce. Only ten percent plan to increase their workforce and 67 percent plan to keep it the same.

When the council asked executives when they expected their payrolls to return to their highs of a few years ago, three percent said in six months, eight percent said six months to one year, and 40 percent said more than a year from now. Fifteen percent said never.

"Last quarter's survey confirmed the recession had bottomed out," says Sunne Wright McPeak, the president and CEO of the Bay Area Council. "This quarter's survey signals recovery. We are concerned, however, that job growth is lagging far behind. Government policy must change more if the recovery is to be as robust as we all hope."

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