State, local employers hedge first quarter hiring plans

Manpower survey shows weaker outlook to start 2017

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More employers in metro Milwaukee and Wisconsin are looking to maintain their current staffing levels, rather than increase or cut employment at the start of 2017, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.manpower-employment-outlook-1q17-121316-athomas

At both the state and local level, the number of employers looking to add employees fell from the previous quarter and the same time last year, but so too did the number planning to cut staff.

In the metro Milwaukee area, 18 percent of employers plan to increase employment, down from 26 percent in the fourth quarter and 24 percent heading into 2016. Just 4 percent plan to cut employment, down from 9 percent in the fourth quarter and 5 percent this time last year.

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The results gave Milwaukee a net employment outlook, which takes the percent looking to hire and subtracts those looking to cut, of 14 percent. That ranked the city in a tie for 49th among the 100 largest metro areas.

The ManpowerGroup report highlighted construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation, financial, business services, education and health services and hospitality as the industries with the best job prospects.

Statewide, 17 percent of employers plan to increase staffing, down from 23 percent in the fourth quarter and 24 percent last year. Like Milwaukee, the number looking to cut employment was also down. Five percent planned reductions in the first quarter, compared to 8 percent in the fourth quarter and 8 percent last year.

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A number of industries highlighted for good job prospects in Milwaukee were also listed at the state level. Durable goods manufacturing was listed as an area where employers planned to scale back while it was expected to be unchanged in Milwaukee.

Other metro areas in the Midwest region showed similar patterns to Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The net employment outlook in Madison was largely unchanged from the fourth quarter at 12 percent, down from 13 percent at this time last year.

Chicago had an outlook of 4 percent, down from 12 percent in the fourth quarter, but up from 2 percent last year. The outlook was only ahead of one metro area of the 100 included in the survey. Cleveland reported an outlook of 0 percent.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul bucked the trend and saw the percentage planning to increase hiring increase from 18 percent last year and 21 percent in the fourth quarter to 23 percent for the start of 2017. The area’s net employment outlook fell though from 19 percent in Q4 to 16 percent for the first quarter of 2017. Last year it was 10 percent.

The employment outlook for the Midwest was 11 percent, or 15 percent when seasonally adjusted. Manpower said hiring plans were relatively stable from the fourth quarter, but slightly weaker versus the start of 2016.

The national net outlook for the quarter was 13 percent or 16 percent seasonally adjusted. Hiring plans were slightly weaker than in the fourth quarter but stable compared with early 2016, Manpower’s report said.

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