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Employers expect to increase hiring
Manpower survey finds U.S. companies' hiring plans most bullish in three years.
March 25, 2004: 10:47 AM EST
By Leslie Haggin Geary, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Strong demand for their products and services is prompting U.S. employers nationwide to say they will soon hire more workers than they have in the past three years.

That's the word from the Employer Outlook Survey by Manpower International, a Milwaukee-based staffing company. The quarterly survey notes that 28 percent of employers expect to hire more workers from April to June.

That's the highest level since the first quarter of 2001 and it's the third consecutive quarter in which U.S. employers have increased hiring.

Moreover, recruiting and hiring efforts will be targeted at job-seekers in all 10 sectors that Manpower tracks. Those fields encompass construction, education, the wholesaile and retail trade, public administration, service jobs, transportation and public utilities, durable and non-durable manufacturing, mining and finance.

"It is clear that demand for their products and services has finally surpassed the capacity and productivity of the current workforce," said Manpower chairman and CEO Jeffrey Joerres in a written statement.

Of some 16,000 employers polled, 28 percent expect to increase hiring from April to June while six percent will cut the number of workers they hire. Most employers -- some 62 percent -- will maintain their current staffing levels. This is the third consecutive quarter that employers reported an uptick in hiring.


Adjusted regionally, employers down South expect to offer job-seekers the most abundant opportunities, with 24 percent planning to hire. The Northeast, which is lagging well behind other regions, will have the fewest opportunities. Only 18 percent of employers plan on adding to their payrolls in coming months.

Hiring will be strongest among construction employers, who have not been as optimistic about adding to their payrolls since 1978. Forty-two percent of construction firms expect to increase hiring in the second quarter of the year.

Makers of durable goods, such as cars and refrigerators, also are bullish about their need for new employees. Thirty-one percent expect to increase hiring.

Meanwhile, manufacturers of non-durable items will also increase staffs, but not as quickly. Only 27 percent expect to hire more workers. Nevertheless, that's the highest level in three years, said Joerres, who called the increased hiring among manufacturers "notable."

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Job seekers in the services sector will find more opportunities, too. Three out of 10 employers plan to increase staffing in coming months, with most new jobs being available out West. That's where 36 percent of employers expect to hire more workers - just about 10 percent more than in the Midwest and Northeast expect the fewest job openings.

Jobs in the public sector, which have been cut as governments bridge budget gaps of their own, also should start re-appearing.  Top of page

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