Milwaukee jobs outlook among best in nation

The Milwaukee jobs market outlook for the first quarter ranks fifth-best among metropolitan markets across the United States, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

The survey polled hiring prospects for employers in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties and found that from January to March 29, a robust 29 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while only 5 percent expect to reduce staff. Another 65 percent expect to maintain their current workforce levels and 1 percent are not certain of their hiring plans. That yields a Net Employment Outlook of 24 percent.

“Staffing plans are stronger than Quarter 4 when the Net Employment Outlook was 16 percent,” said Chris Layden, spokesman for Milwaukee-based Manpower. “A year-over-year comparison suggests that job seekers will find significantly improved job prospects to Q1 2014 when the Outlook was 7 percent.”

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Information, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality. Employers in Other Services plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in Government is expected to remain unchanged.

The Milwaukee market outlook only trails only Cape Coral, Fla., McAllen, Texas, Deltona, Fla., and Grand Rapids, Mich.

Statewide, 24 percent of employers in Wisconsin expect to hire more employees in the first quarter, while 6 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. Another 68 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels and 2 percent are not certain of their hiring plans. That yields a Net Employment Outlook of 18 percent.

“We’re hearing a sense of optimism from clients in Wisconsin, and this is buoyed by the positive outlook across every industry sector. The diversity of our industry base and the broad-based sector strength has us firing on all cylinders. From a labor market standpoint, this is putting even more strain on an already stretched talent pool, particularly in specialized skill sets like engineering and IT,” Layden said.

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed in the United States, 19 percent expect to add to their workforces, and 6 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during Quarter 1 2015. Seventy-three percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels, and the remaining 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring plans. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook is +16 percent, a one point increase from the Quarter 4 2014 Net Employment Outlook of +15 percent.

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