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Employers still skittish on hiring

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Most employers are still cautious when it comes to hiring, planning neither to add nor cut jobs from their payrolls this spring, according to a staffing firm survey released Tuesday.

About 73% of employers surveyed by Manpower Inc. expect no change in their hiring plans from March to June this year.

But there were also signs of improvement in the hiring outlook. Only about 8% of employers said they plan to make cuts, down from 12% in the previous quarter, and 14% a year ago. About 16% of employers said they expect to add to their payrolls, up from 12% last quarter.

"Things certainly seem to be turning around in many aspects of the economy," said Melanie Holmes, a Manpower vice president. "I really don't think employers are 100% confident yet, but I do think their confidence is building."

The Milwaukee-based employment services company surveys about 18,000 employers in 200 metropolitan areas each quarter and tracks their hiring plans.

Of the 13 industry sectors Manpower surveyed, employers in leisure and hospitality, business services and mining reported the strongest hiring outlooks for the quarter.

Only the government sector reported a negative outlook, with 11% of government employers saying they plan to cut jobs, and 10% saying they plan to hire new staff.

All four regions tracked by Manpower expect modest hiring gains through June. Employers in the Northeast posted the highest hiring outlook, followed by the South and West, and finally, the Midwest.

Around the world, 27 of the 36 countries surveyed by Manpower expect to add to their workforces.

India, Brazil, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Peru and Australia posted the strongest hiring outlooks, while Italy, Spain and Ireland posted the weakest hiring plans.

Manpower's survey results come four days after a government jobs report revealed employers cut payrolls by a total of 36,000 jobs last month. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected much worse -- a total of 68,000 cuts.

A separate report showed the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7% in February. To top of page

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