Wisconsin employers lag behind in employment optimism

U.S. employers are more optimistic about the final quarter of 2013 than they have been in any fourth quarter since the start of the Great Recession, but Wisconsin employers are lagging behind their national counterparts in the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

According to the survey, U.S. employers have a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +13 percent, the strongest fourth quarter estimate since 2007, when the Outlook was +19 percent.

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed, 18 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in their fourth quarter hiring plans.

“We’ve seen consistent, yet measured, momentum in employers’ hiring plans in a steadily improving market,” said Jonas Prising, president of Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup. “Employers have reached a level of confidence in navigating unstable conditions, and the strength of the Quarter 4 2013 survey data suggests a stronger close to 2013.”

Some of the strongest sectors for hiring include the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector (+22 percent), the Leisure and Hospitality sector (+17 percent) and the Professional and Business Services sector (+13 percent).

“Employers plan to hire during the fourth quarter, particularly in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector, and that’s good news for job seekers looking for employment during the busy holiday season,” said Prising. “Employers bring on new staff when they start seeing increased demand for their products and services, and this intention to hire may signal optimism among U.S. employers.”

Among the 50 states, employers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas indicate the strongest Net Employment Outlook, all at +15 percent.

However, Wisconsin employers reported a Net Employment Outlook of only 9 percent, well below the national average.

“The (Wisconsin) fourth quarter hiring outlook is declining compared to the third quarter of 2013 when the Net Employment Outlook was 19 percent,” said Manpower spokeswoman Nicole Langley. “Employer confidence about hiring is falling slightly compared with one year ago when the Net Employment Outlook was 11 percent.”

A bright spot within the Wisconsin report, however, was the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metropolitan market, which yielded a Net Employment Outlook of 14 percent, which was above the national average.

Employers in all 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) surveyed report positive hiring plans for the quarter.

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