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Manpower Survey Shows Incremental Improvements in Hiring Intentions Add Up to More Promising U.S. Jobs Outlook

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Survey Data Shows Steady Increases in Hiring Plans Amount to Considerable 3-Year Progress

MILWAUKEE (March 13, 2012) – Hiring optimism among U.S. employers is gaining momentum as positive outlooks are reported broadly across all industries and geographies, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today by ManpowerGroup. According to the seasonally adjusted survey results, the Net Employment Outlook for Quarter 2 2012 is +10%, up from +8% during the same period last year and from the +9% Outlook during Quarter 1 2012.

ManpowerGroup’s research concludes:

• Growing Optimism Adds Up: Quarter 2 2012 marks the first double-digit Outlook since Quarter 4 2008, when the Outlook was also +10%, and is 12 percentage points higher than the recessionary low of -2% in 2009. This demonstrates a considerable improvement in employer confidence that is not easily seen quarter over quarter, with the last eight quarters showing only relatively stable or slight improvements in hiring conditions.

• Workforces Expected to Grow Across All Industries: For Quarter 2 2012, employers in all industries across all regions surveyed indicate a positive Net Employment Outlook.

• Nine Out of 10 Companies Steady or Growing: According to seasonally adjusted data, nine in 10 U.S. employers surveyed have conveyed that they plan to increase or make no changes to their hiring in Quarter 2 2012. The rise in confidence marks 10 straight quarters of positive overall survey results, which were preceded by three quarters of pessimistic employment plans.

• All States Positive: Hiring intentions improved significantly among the states, with employers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia reporting positive hiring plans. North Dakota remains a leader among the states with a significant increase in job prospects as the Outlook rises from +14% in Quarter 1 2012 to +26% in Quarter 2 2012. Other states with strong hiring forecasts include Alaska, Vermont, Delaware and Oklahoma, which all report a Net Employment Outlook above 20%.

“Our survey data for Quarter 2 2012 is particularly encouraging because the positive hiring intentions are widespread across states, regions and markets,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president of the Americas. “Positive hiring intentions tell us that employers are seeing increased demand for their products and services, and that is good news for the labor market. Although we are not out of the woods yet, our data shows that this hiring progression is increasingly solid.”

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 18 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 2 2012 hiring plans, while 6 percent expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +12%. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes +10%. Seventy-two percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The final 4 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions.

“It is well documented that this recovery is atypically slow. However, if we were able to see a time- lapse video of the recovery, we would see there is a noticeable positive trend,” said Prising. “Compared to three years ago at this time, the seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook increased from -2% to +10%, which is considerable. The data tells us that the healing process is further along than most realize.”

Hiring Outlooks for Industry Sectors and Regions For Quarter 2 2012, employers have a positive Outlook in all of the 13 industry sectors included in the survey: Leisure & Hospitality (+26%), Mining (+20%), Professional & Business Services (+17%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+15%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+14%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+13%), Transportation & Utilities (+13%), Financial Activities (+11%), Information (+10%), Construction (+9%), Other Services (+8%), Education & Health Services (+7%), and Government (+5%).

When the industry sector data is compared quarter over quarter, employers in the Construction, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, and Leisure & Hospitality sectors anticipate a considerable hiring increase, while employers in the Durable Goods Manufacturing, Wholesale & Retail Trade, and Professional & Business Services sectors anticipate a moderate hiring increase. Staff levels are expected to slightly increase among employers in six industry sectors: Mining, Information, Financial Activities, Education & Health Services, Other Services and Government.

A positive Net Employment Outlook is reported in all four U.S. regions. Quarter-over-quarter, plans to add employees are up slightly among employers in the Midwest and West, and remain essentially the same among employers in the Northeast and South. Compared to one year ago at this time, employers in the Midwest, South and West project a slightly stronger hiring environment, while employers in the Northeast anticipate a relatively stable hiring environment for Quarter 2 2012.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on June 12, 2012, to report hiring expectations for the third quarter of 2012. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, visit

*The Net Employment Outlook, often shortened to simply Outlook or NEO, 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.

About the Survey
ManpowerGroup’s quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey measures employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. It is the only forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in size, scope, longevity and area of focus. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted using a validated methodology in accordance with the highest standards in market research. In the U.S., the survey is conducted by an independent, third-party research firm and includes a select sample of more than 18,000 U.S. employers. This sample represents the top 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on business establishment count and all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The mix of industries within the survey follows the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Supersectors and is structured to be representative of the U.S. economy. With this number of interviews, the overall U.S. survey carries a margin of error of +/-0.61%, with a 90% confidence index. The complete results from the U.S. national Manpower Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at, where you will also find the survey results for the 100 MSAs, 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico.


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