1Q Hiring Projections Look Dim

GRAND RAPIDS — Mixed intentions were what came of a recent survey performed by Manpower, surveying Grand Rapids area employers.

The First Quarter Employment Outlook Survey took a look at winter personnel needs at the turn of the New Year.

“In our survey of hiring intentions for the January, February and March period, 17 percent of the firms queried plan staffing level increases, another 17 percent project reductions and 63 percent expect no changes during the winter months,” said David Clonan of Manpower. “The other 3 percent are uncertain of their needs.”

The survey showed job prospects in 2003 appearing most likely in services and public administration, while cutbacks are forecast for construction. In addition, a mix of staff additions and reductions is anticipated in durable goods manufacturing and wholesale/retail trade.

“Three months ago employers were upbeat when 20 percent anticipated workforce additions, while none thought payrolls were too high,” added Clonan.

“At this time last year opportunities were limited as 7 percent predicted personnel gains and 17 percent reported cutbacks were planned.”

The national outlook reveals that 20 percent of the employers surveyed intend to staff up, while 12 percent indicate a reduction in workforce for the first quarter.

Another 62 percent plan to maintain present levels and 6 percent are unsure of plans for the quarter.

Manpower Inc. conducts the Employment Outlook Survey in the U.S. on a quarterly basis. It is a measurement of employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the permanent workforce, and during its 27-year history has been a significant indicator of employment trends.

The survey is based on telephone interviews with nearly 16,000 public and private employers in the 470 U.S. markets.

For additional information visit Manpower’s Web site www.us.manpower.com           

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