Robust Job Growth Predicted

    GRAND RAPIDS — A Manpower employment survey released this morning gives another indication that reports of manufacturing’s demise are premature.

    According to the survey, area employers expect to hire at a brisk pace during the third quarter of 2004 and durable and non-durable goods manufacturing is one the areas in which the pace will be brisk.

    The survey also indicated job prospects appear best in construction, transportation/public utilities and wholesale/retail trade.

    Manpower conducts the survey quarterly to measure employers’ hiring intentions during the next quarter. It is the only forward-looking survey of its kind, and Manpower says it is unparalleled in size, scope, longevity and area of focus.

    From July to September, 40 percent of the companies Manpower interviewed indicated they plan to hire more employees, while 7 percent intend to reduce their work force.

    According to David Clonan, a Manpower spokesperson, another 53 percent of responding companies expect to maintain their current staff levels.

    “Grand Rapids-area employers are more optimistic about hiring plans than in the second quarter forecast,” Clonan said.

    In the second quarter, he said, 30 percent of the companies interviewed predicted an increase in hiring activity, while 10 percent planned to decrease the hiring pace.

    “A year ago at this time,” he added, “employers revealed weaker hiring intentions when 27 percent of companies surveyed thought employment increases were likely and 7 percent intended to cut back.”

    While job prospects appear best in construction, manufacturing, transportation/public utilities and wholesale/retail trade, he said the survey shows employers in education plan to reduce staffing levels, while those in services have mixed hiring intentions.

    Hiring in other sectors is expected to remain unchanged.

    The national results of the Manpower survey reveal that U.S. employers continue to show optimism in their hiring plans moving into the third quarter.

    Of the 16,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 30 percent expect to add to their payrolls in the third quarter, while 6 percent predict a decline in staff levels.

    Fifty-nine percent of employers surveyed foresee no change in job prospects, and 5 percent are unsure of their hiring expectations.

    Without seasonal adjustments, the third quarter outlook is slightly more positive than the April-June period.

    With seasonal variations removed from the survey results, the employment outlook for the coming quarter is identical to the second quarter survey when employers reported the strongest employment outlook since the beginning of 2001.

    The July-September forecast represents one of the largest year-over-year increases in the survey’s history.

    Manpower has run its survey for more than 40 years and is one of the most trusted surveys of employment activity in the world.

    The national survey in the U.S. is based on interviews with nearly 16,000 public and private employers in 470 markets across the country and Manpower says it is considered a highly respected economic indicator.           

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