Majority of Employers Plan to Staff Up in Q4 2016

By Roy Maurer Sep 14, 2016
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Employers are confident that they will hire more workers through the end of 2016, with the strongest hiring plans being reported in India, Japan, Taiwan and the United States, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Staffing levels are expected to grow in 42 of 43 countries and territories despite a slowdown in the global economy and continued financial market volatility. Only employers in Brazil expect headcount to decline in the October-December timeframe. The survey includes responses from more than 59,000 organizations worldwide, of which 11,000 are U.S. employers.

"The Brexit vote in the U.K., along with other recent geopolitical events, has added an additional level of volatility—real or perceived—to the global economic outlook," said Jonas Prising, chairman & CEO of ManpowerGroup, a multinational human resources consulting firm headquartered in Milwaukee. "Despite this uncertainty, the labor market picture remains cautiously positive, with many EU and Eurozone economies slowly pushing back towards pre-recession levels as well as improving prospects in other key markets like India, Japan and Taiwan."

Hiring prospects are stronger in 23 of the nations surveyed, compared to the third quarter of 2016. Plans are unchanged in nine and decline in 11. Compared with last year at this time, hiring outlooks are improved in 21 countries, weaker in 15 and unchanged in six.

U.S. Showing Labor Market Strength

The survey found 22 percent of U.S. employers plan to increase staff in the fourth quarter, a dip from 23 percent from the prior quarter's forecast and a one-percent increase from a year ago. Six percent plan to decrease staff, 69 percent expect no change in staff, and three percent are undecided about their hiring intentions.

U.S. employers are optimistic, though hesitant, and "we're pleased to see levels we were seeing before the recession," said Kip Wright, senior vice president of Manpower North America. "As the hiring outlook continues to improve, attracting and retaining skilled talent will become even more difficult."

Employers in all U.S. industry sectors surveyed reported positive hiring prospects for the next three months. The industries with the highest seasonally adjusted net employment outlooks are:

  • Leisure and hospitality (30 percent of employers surveyed expect to increase hiring).
  • Wholesale and retail trade (22 percent).
  • Transportation and utilities (20 percent).
  • Professional and business services (17 percent).

All 100 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States reported positive hiring plans. The strongest job prospects are expected in:

  • Honolulu
  • Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Nashville, Tenn.

The weakest outlooks are projected in:

  • Oklahoma City
  • Seattle
  • Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Worcester, Mass.

India Continues to Lead

Indian employers reported the strongest regional and global hiring prospects for the fifth consecutive quarter, while the weakest Asia-Pacific labor market is anticipated in China, also for the fifth consecutive quarter. Indian job seekers can expect the most opportunities in the services and the wholesale and retail trade sectors.

A G Rao, group managing director of ManpowerGroup India, expects gains in high-skill jobs also, as automation in the IT sector creates new roles. However, he added that the government's focus remains on ensuring that India becomes a manufacturing hub.

An active hiring pace is expected in most industry sectors in Japan as employers continue to struggle with the country's aging demographic and shrinking labor pool, according to ManpowerGroup. "This is especially true in the mining and construction sector where employer confidence may be fueled by ongoing preparation in advance of the 2020 Olympic Games," Prising said.

Hiring in Taiwan is anticipated to be brisk in the fourth quarter also, especially in manufacturing, finance, real estate, insurance, and wholesale and retail trade. Fourth-quarter forecasts for China are positive and improve upon the previous quarter, with the strongest hiring plans reported in the services sector.

Employers in nine of the 10 North and South American countries surveyed expect to increase payrolls by varying degrees, with the United States, Colombia and Mexico reporting the region's most optimistic fourth-quarter hiring plans.

Brazil's negative hiring outlook represents difficulties for job seekers.

"Brazil is going through a period of economic and political instability, and this reflects directly on the opportunities in the labor market, resulting in increased unemployment," said ManpowerGroup Brasil CEO Nilson Pereira. "However, the scenario for the coming months has a better outlook, with the possibility of reversal of the contractions employers have been reporting for the past five years. The forecast indicates that, on balance, payrolls are still expected to decline, but at a slower pace than we have seen recently."

Employers expect staffing levels to increase in all 25 surveyed countries in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region during the upcoming quarter. The strongest EMEA labor markets are forecast by employers in Ireland and Israel, while the weakest outlooks are reported in Belgium, Finland, Italy and Switzerland. German and French employers reported their most optimistic outlooks since the first half of 2013, where confidence in manufacturing has steadily improved.

The Brexit vote seems to have had little effect on the hiring plans of U.K. employers. "Despite the Brexit decision, the jobs market in the U.K. remains strong at a national level, though there are signs of hesitancy in several sectors including finance," Prising said. 

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