Employers optimistic about hiring trends

    Employment levels throughout greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the United States are expected to continue shifting positively during the second quarter of 2013, according to the newest employment outlook survey released Tuesday by ManpowerGroup.


    The survey, which addresses the hiring intentions of companies each quarter, found that the percentage of employers nationwide planning to make cuts in workforce has fallen to 5 percent, the smallest projection of staff reductions since 2000.
    Of employers consulted within Milwaukee, Waukesha and West Allis, 23 percent plan to hire more employees, and 69 percent will likely maintain their current labor force. Another 5 percent look to cut staff and 3 percent of area employers are not yet certain of hiring plans moving into the second quarter.
    The findings point to a net employment outlook of 18 percent within metro Milwaukee.
    “Hiring activity is expected to improve considerably during the second quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2013 when the Net Employment Outlook was six percent,” said Manpower spokeswoman Nicole Langley. “Employers expect slightly more robust employment prospects compared with one year ago when the Net Employment Outlook was 16 percent.”
    Net employment outlook statewide has also reached 18 percent, up from 5 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and up from 14 percent a year ago. Twenty two percent of surveyed Wisconsin companies aim to add to their workforce while 72 percent plan to maintain their current workforce. Four percent expect to reduce staffing, and two percent remain uncertain. 
    The results throughout greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin speak to the stability of companies and the ways they’re looking at business trends, said Jorge Perez, senior vice president for Milwaukee-based Manpower North America.
    Nationwide, 18 percent of the 18,000 employers interviewed plan to increase their workforce, and 73 percent expect to maintain current employee levels.
    While the survey results are not as encouraging as they were prior the recession, they continue the positive trend in employment levels that Manpower has reported since 2009, Perez said.
    “It’s a reinforcement of what we’ve seen in the marketplace is solid, and it should be able to keep on growing,” Perez said.
    And while companies are cautious about the number of people they’re hiring, more companies are hiring, he said.
    The results of the latest survey don’t indicate how national sequestration cuts, which went into effect March 1, are influencing employers’ confidence in workforce levels. Manpower conducted the survey in January, before sequestration was at the top of the minds of employers.  
    “As of this (survey) for the second quarter, based on timing, I don’t think you will find a reflection on it right now,” Perez said.
    The impact of sequestration cuts will likely be clearer in the employment survey addressing the third quarter, to be released in June, according to Perez.

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