U.S. Employment Outlook Returns to Post-Recession Strength for Q4 2016

U.S. employers indicate a slight increase in hiring plans for the final three months of 2016, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released by ManpowerGroup.

Taking into account seasonal variations, the Net Employment Outlook for Quarter 4 2016 is +18%, which matches the strongest post-recession Outlook reported in Quarter 4 2015.

Hiring plans nationwide improve by three percentage points compared to the previous quarter, with all 13 industry sectors planning to increase their payrolls.

Of the more than 11,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 22 percent anticipate increasing staff levels in Quarter 4 2016. This is a one percent decrease from Quarter 3 2016, and a one percent increase from Quarter 4 2015.

Six percent of employers expect workforce reductions and 69 percent expect no change in hiring plans.

The final three percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions, resulting in a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of +18%.

Nationwide, employers in all 13 industry sectors expect payrolls to increase during Quarter 4 2016, with Leisure & Hospitality (+30%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+22%), Transportation & Utilities (+20%) and Professional & Business Services (+17%) employers reporting the strongest hiring intentions.

Optimistic, Though Hesitant

"Employers are optimistic, though hesitant, with their hiring intentions and we're pleased to see levels we were seeing before the recession," said Kip Wright, Senior Vice President of Manpower North America.

"While employers are looking to grow their workforces, many are challenged to find candidates with the right skills. As the hiring outlook continues to improve, attracting and retaining skilled talent will become even more difficult.

“That's why we're hearing more about companies like AT&T and Marriott that are adopting strategies to develop their employees' skill sets and competing to attract those with the most in-demand skills – especially in industries like IT and engineering."

Net Employment Outlooks strengthen in all four U.S. regions surveyed when compared with Quarter 3 2016. Hiring prospects are slightly stronger in the Northeast, the South and the West when compared with Q3 2016.

Among the 50 states, employers in Hawaii, Tennessee, Utah, Montana, Florida and Arizona report the strongest Net Employment Outlooks, while Alaska, New Jersey, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and Indiana project the weakest Outlooks.

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