Survey - Solid job market predicted for Southeast Missouri

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Southeast Missouri employers expect to hire at a strong pace during the second quarter of 2004, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

From April to June, 30 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 3 percent intend to reduce their workforce, according to Manpower spokesperson Peggy Gates. Another 67 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels.

"The Southeast Missouri employment outlook is much healthier than the first quarter forecast when 10 percent of the companies interviewed predicted an increase in hiring activity, while 13 percent planned to decrease the hiring pace," said Gates. "Job market projections are more favorable than last year at this time when 23 percent of companies surveyed thought employment increases were likely and none intended to cut back."

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in durable and non-durable goods manufacturing and wholesale/retail trade. Employers in services have mixed hiring intentions, while hiring in other sectors is expected to remain unchanged.

The national results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveal that U.S. employers expect the seasonally adjusted hiring pace from April to June to be stronger than it has been since the first quarter of 2001.

Of the 16,000 U.S. employers that were surveyed, 28 percent said they plan to increase hiring activity for the April to June period, while 6 percent expect a decrease in employment opportunities. Another 62 percent of employers foresee no change in hiring, and 4 percent are uncertain of their staffing plans.

When the seasonal variations are removed from the data, the outlook for the second quarter is more positive than it was last quarter and is nearly twice as strong as it was last year at this time. This marks the third consecutive quarter of increased hiring activity.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. The survey has been running for more than 40 years. The survey in the U.S. is based on interviews with nearly 16,000 public and private employers in 470 markets across the country and is considered a highly respected economic indicator.

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