Manpower Survey: Employers upbeat about hiring heading into 2019

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 am

Nearly three in 10 employers in metro Milwaukee plan to increase their staff levels in the first quarter of 2019, an improvement over both the fourth quarter and the start of 2018, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

The survey found a Net Employment Outlook for Milwaukee of 24 percent, up from 17 percent heading into the fourth quarter and 23 percent heading into 2018. The outlook subtracts the percentage of employers expecting to decrease staffing from those planning an increase.

For the first quarter of 2019, 28 percent expect to increase staffing while 4 percent plan a decrease.

Job prospects in the region are strongest in durable goods and nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, professional and business services, educational and health services and leisure and hospitality, according to Manpower.

Government staffing levels are expected to decline while construction, information and financial activities employment will remain unchanged, according to the company.

Milwaukee tied for the 13th strongest hiring outlook for the first quarter among the 100 largest metro areas.

The region also outpaced the Midwest as whole, which had an outlook of 17 percent. Wisconsin had an outlook of 23 percent. The Madison area outlook was 21 percent while metro Chicago’s outlook as 17 percent.

Minneapolis-St.Paul had the lowest outlook in the country at 6 percent.

Milwaukee’s strong hiring outlook hasn’t necessarily translated to strong job growth. The region’s outlook has been higher than the U.S. as a whole for all but six quarters since the start of 2011, but Milwaukee’s private sector job growth has only topped the nation in two quarters during the same period, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private sector job growth nationally has outpaced Milwaukee by an average of 0.82 percentage points since the start of 2011.

One of the limiting factors for job growth in the region has been finding available workers. Metro Milwaukee’s unemployment rate was a non-seasonally adjusted 3 percent in October. The rate hasn’t been above 5 percent since mid-2015.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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