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U.S. Employers Foresee Continued Stability in Workforce Levels, According to Manpower Survey

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Employers Report Slightly Elevated Confidence Compared to 12 Months Ago

MILWAUKEE (March 12, 2013) – Hiring decision makers continue to take a measured but optimistic approach to hiring plans for Quarter 2 2013, 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 2013 is +11%, a 1 percentage point decrease from Quarter 1 2013 and slightly elevated from +10% during the same period last year.

As a supplement to the Quarter 2 2013 survey results, an infographic is available for download at “Where the Jobs Are” offers a snapshot of data and trends from the survey, including key state and metro area-specific Outlooks along with an industry forecast.

This quarter’s research concludes:

  • Positive Trend in All States and Metro Areas: Employers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia report positive hiring plans. North Dakota remains a leader among the states with a significant increase in job prospects as the Outlook rises from +21% in Quarter 1 2013 to +30% in Quarter 2 2013. Employers in all Metropolitan Statistical Areas also report positive hiring plans, with Outlooks ranging from +3% to +23%.
  • Fewest Employers Decreasing Staff Levels: The overall percentage of employers who anticipate staff reductions is at 5 percent. This is the smallest percentage of employers planning to reduce headcounts since Quarter 3 2000, when a 5 percent rate was also reported.
  • Stable Hiring Plans Reach Peak: 73 percent of employers plan to maintain current staff levels during Quarter 2 2013. This rivals the previous strongest percentage in this category, which was last at this level in Quarter 1 2011.
  • Improvement in Construction Sector: The Construction industry sector anticipates a considerable increase in hiring in Quarter 2 2013 in the Northeast, Midwest and West. With an increase of 5 percentage points in the Midwest and 4 in the West, these regions expect a greater increase in hiring compared to one year ago at this time, while employers in the Northeast anticipate an increase consistent with traditional Quarter 2 data.

“Quarter over quarter our data reports slow and steady hiring projections, which is good news compared with the hiring downturns we experienced several years ago,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president. “The main priority for employers today should be to refine management methods to build winning teams so they have the right people in place when the economy takes off again.”

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 18 percent expect to add to their workforces in Quarter 2 2013, while 5 percent expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +13%. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes +11%. Seventy-three percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The final 4 percent of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.

“As the economic tailwinds of the housing, banking and auto industries continue to pick up, we are seeing a gradual acceleration in hiring, accompanied by fewer companies decreasing staff,” said Prising. “The considerable growth of the Construction sector is a reflection of continued progress and employers are responding to this as outside momentum gives them more confidence to push their plans forward.”

Hiring Outlooks for Industry Sectors and Regions

For Quarter 2 2013, employers have a positive Outlook in all 13 industry sectors included in the survey: Leisure & Hospitality (+24%), Professional & Business Services (+18%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+15%), Mining (+14%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+14%), Transportation & Utilities (+14%), Information (+13%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+12%), Financial Activities (+11%), Construction (+10%), Other Services (+9%), Education & Health Services (+7%) and Government (+7%). When the industry sector data is compared quarter-over-quarter, employers in the the Construction, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities and Leisure & Hospitality sectors anticipate a considerable hiring increase, while employers in the Mining, Durable Goods Manufacturing and Professional & Business Services sectors anticipate a moderate hiring increase. Employers in the Other Services industry sector look for the hiring pace to slightly increase.

Staff levels are expected to remain relatively stable among employers in four industry sectors: Information, Financial Activities, Education & Health Services and Government. The Wholesale & Retail Trade sector anticipates a slight decrease in the hiring pace.

A positive Net Employment Outlook is reported in all four U.S. regions. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, quarter-over-quarter plans to add employees remain essentially unchanged among employers in the Northeast, Midwest and South, while employers in the West expect hiring to slightly decrease. Compared to one year ago at this time, employers in all regions expect a relatively stable hiring environment for Quarter 2 2013.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on June 11, to report hiring expectations for the third quarter of 2013. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, visit


*Note to Editors
The Net Employment Outlook, often shortened to simply 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.


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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Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

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