Hiring outlook steady

Survey results indicate that employers plan to maintain current staff levels despite economic uncertainty.

by Ben Rooney, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. employers are planning a conservative approach to hiring in this year's fourth quarter, a survey released Tuesday showed.

Nearly three-fifths, or 58 percent, of employers do not plan a change in the pace of hiring from the third quarter, according to a survey of 14,000 employers by Manpower, a short-term staffing company.

This is the second consecutive quarter that a majority of employers planned to hold staff levels steady.

The survey results follow a report released last week by the Labor Department that showed a net loss of 4,000 jobs in August, raising fears that weakness in the economy has spread beyond the housing and financial sectors that have roiled markets in recent weeks.

However, Jonas Prising, President of Manpower North America, said that "we cannot draw conclusions from this report regarding the subprime crisis, since the overall impact may not have filtered through yet." The survey was taken in July.

"The first quarter report for next year will likely provide a better picture of how the subprime crisis is affecting employers' attitude" Prising said

Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed expect to increase the hiring pace, while 9 percent expect to see a decrease, according to the survey. Six percent said they were undecided.

In the fourth quarter last year, 28 percent said they expected to increase the pace of hiring.

Employers in the survey said hiring would be slow in the mining and transportation/public utilities sectors. But those in four other large sectors - construction, manufacturing, transportation and service - said they foresaw no change in the hiring climate.

Hiring looks strongest in the West in coming months, where 24 percent of companies expect an increase. Service employers are particularly optimistic in the West.

Online job index picks up

How to earn more from home Top of page