The hiring outlook for metro Milwaukee improved heading into the start of 2021 with 22% of employers planning to increase their staffing, up from 16% heading into the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
The region’s net employment outlook, which subtracts the percentage planning to decrease staffing from those planning an increase, is 13% heading into 2021, up from 9% heading into the fourth quarter.
Metro Milwaukee’s biggest shift over the last quarter was a drop in the percentage of businesses planning to maintain their current staff levels from 75% to 62%. In addition to more firms planning to increase hiring there was an increase from 7% to 9% among those planning to decrease staff.
The percentage unsure about their hiring plans also jumped from 2% to 7%.
Last year at this time, no respondents said they were unsure about their hiring plans.
Employers in durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, financial activities, professional and business services and education and health services are most optimistic about hiring.
On the other hand, the construction, leisure and hospitality and government sectors are expected to see decreases in hiring.
While improving, the Milwaukee area's hiring outlook trails surrounding major metro areas heading into 2021. Metro Chicago’s net employment outlook was unchanged at 16%, metro Madison improved from 14% to 21% and Minneapolis-St. Paul improved from 8% to 18%.
Statewide, Wisconsin’s employment outlook improved from 13% to 16%, an improvement that is only better than Illinois among surrounding states.
Iowa jumped 15 percentage points from the fourth quarter to 31%, Minnesota was up 11 points to 17%, Michigan's outlook added 7 points to reach 25% and Indiana went from 17% to 21%.
Illinois' hiring outlook dipped 1 point to 16