Manpower Survey: Optimism Growing Among Hiring Decision Makers

Optimism among hiring decision makers continues to improve as a slightly increased hiring pace is expected for Q1 2013, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Here’s a handy infographic entitled Where the Jobs Are. It offers a snapshot of data and trends from the survey, including key state and metro-specific Outlooks along with an industry forecast.


The seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook for Q1 2013 is +12 percent, up a point from Q4 and three points over +9 percent in Q1 2012.

Other highlights:

  • Strongest first quarter outlook in five years. The Q1 Outlook of +12 percent is the strongest first quarter data since 2008 and is significantly stronger than the weakest first quarter Outlook in the history of the survey, reported in 2010.
  • Improvement in retail sector. Nationally, the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector anticipates an increase in hiring in Q1. Typically, there is a decline in hiring plans at the start of a new year.
  • Positive trend in Northeast and West. Employers in the Northeast and West anticipate increases in hiring in Q1. Compared to this time last year, employers in the Northeast anticipate a 4 percentage point increase, while employers in the West expect a 7 percentage point increase.

Best and worst states?

The best states for jobs in Q1? North Dakota, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Delaware and Nebraska.

The worst? Maine, Kansas, West Virginia, Missouri, Oregon and Nevada.

Sunny and cloudy sectors?

Which sectors have a sunny Outlook for Q1? Wholesale & Retail Trade, Leisure & Hospitality, Professional & Business Services and Information.

Which sectors are cloudy? Construction, Transportation & Utilities, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing and Durable Goods Manufacturing.

Here are the specifics …

Employers have a positive Outlook in 12 of the 13 industry sectors: Wholesale & Retail Trade (+17 percent), Leisure & Hospitality (+14 percent), Professional & Business Services (+13 percent), Information (+12 percent, Financial Activities (+11 percent), Education & Health Services (+8 percent), Government (+8 percent), Mining (+7 percent), Other Services, (+7 percent), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+5 percent), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+5 percent) and Transportation & Utilities (+4 percent). Construction was the only sector with a negative Outlook (-2 percent).

When compared quarter over quarter, employers in the Information, Other Services and Government anticipate a slight hiring increase. Staff levels are expected to remain relatively stable among employers in seven sectors: Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services and Leisure & Hospitality. The Mining, Construction and Durable Goods Manufacturing sectors anticipate a slight decrease in the hiring pace.

Regional data

A positive Outlook is reported in all four U.S. regions. Quarter over quarter, hiring plans remain essentially unchanged among employers in the Midwest and South, while employers in the Northeast and West expect hiring to slightly increase.

Compared to one year ago, employers in the Midwest expect a relatively stable hiring environment, employers in the Northeast and South project a slight increase in hiring and employers in the West expect a moderate increase.

Behind the numbers

Of the more than 18,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 17 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in Q1, while 8 percent expect a decrease, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +9 percent.

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When seasonally adjusted, the Outlook becomes +12 percent. Some 72 percent of employers expect no change in hiring plans. Another 3 percent are undecided.

What does it all mean?

“The Outlook has shown no setbacks over the last 15 quarters, which reflects an ongoing state of rebuilding as employers learn to function within a state of volatility,” said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president. “Over the past few years, we have seen continued incremental growth in hiring projections, which reinforces this job growth is slow but sustained.”

About the survey

The quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey measures employers’ intentions to increase or decrease their employment levels in the upcoming quarter. It is the most extensive forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in size, scope, longevity and area of focus.

Want more?

The complete results — including detailed breakdowns by industry, country, region, state and MSA — are available here.

The Q2 2013 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released March 12. To receive an e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, go here.

And here’s a video featuring Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup president, discussing the results in detail:

This was originally published on Manpower Group’s Employment Blawg.

Mark Toth has served as Manpower Group North America's Chief Legal Officer since 2000. He also serves on the company’s Global Leadership Team, Global Legal Lead Team and North American Lead Team. Mark is recognized as an expert on legal issues affecting the U.S. workplace and is frequently quoted in media from The Wall Street Journal to 60 Minutes. He is also a past Chair of the American Staffing Association and is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. Contact him at