Manpower: U.S., Global Job Markets Seem Stronger

By Bill Leonard Jan 17, 2014
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The world’s job market should remain stable and improve slightly in most countries for the first three months of 2014, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Manpower’s quarterly labor-market forecast is based on a survey of more than 65,000 employers in 42 countries.

The survey revealed that U.S. job seekers can expect to see continued improvement through March 2014. Among the more than 18,000 U.S. employers responding to the survey:

  • 17 percent plan to increase hiring through the first three months of the year.
  • 7 percent plan to cut back on staffing.
  • 73 percent expect that their staffing levels will hold steady.
  • 3 percent reported that their organization is undecided about hiring plans.

Once the survey analysts factored in seasonal variations, they concluded that the U.S. employment outlook increased to plus 13 percent, which, according to Manpower officials, is among the strongest hiring forecasts since the beginning of the 2007-09 recession.

“Employers remain optimistic and continue to gradually improve hiring projections despite the uneven economic recovery and other global and domestic influences,” said Jonas Prising, president of ManpowerGroup, in a written statement. “We’re starting to see talent strategy match the importance of business strategy as individuals with the right skills and experience become harder to find.”

Two other job-market reports appear to support the Manpower's conclusion that the U.S. job market is improving. A recent report by outplacement consulting group Challenger, Gray & Christmas revealed that retail hiring at the end of 2013 was the strongest since 1999. In addition, Challenger reported in December 2013 that the number of planned layoffs by U.S. employers dropped to the lowest level since 1997.

Global Job Markets Stabilizing

The global employment situation also seems to be stabilizing, and in most countries the job markets are improving slightly, according to Manpower. Employers in 34 of the 42 countries featured in the report expect to increase their payrolls, representing an increase of five countries that expected to do more hiring during the final quarter of 2013.

“Employers in many parts of the world anticipate mostly modest payroll gains, which may nevertheless be a sign of some hiring momentum as we head into 2014,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, in a press release. “Employers will see these gains as a sensibly cautious approach to ongoing certain uncertainty, while job seekers may interpret the results as a sign of labor-market stasis.”

According to the survey, employers throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to report positive employment outlooks. Taiwan should retain its status as having the region’s strongest job market, where more than one-third of employers report that they plan to boost hiring levels during the first quarter.

Europe, on the other hand, offers a decidedly mixed picture. Businesses in Turkey reported the strongest hiring plans in the region, according to the survey, and Greece’s job market should noticeably improve in the first part of 2014. But while the first-quarter employment outlooks for countries such as Germany, France, England and Spain should improve slightly or remain stable, employers in countries including Italy, Belgium, Finland, Ireland and Slovakia expect a net loss of jobs, Manpower researchers revealed.

In the Americas, hiring plans remained positive in all 10 countries featured in the employment-outlook surveys. Respondents in Colombia reported the strongest job-market growth in the region, with 30 percent of companies planning to expand their payrolls during the first three months of 2014.

Bill Leonard is a senior writer for SHRM.

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