More companies plan to hire than to slash jobs, survey says

Posted December 9, 2008

— Heads up, job seekers. A good number of companies are going to be hiring in the New Year, says the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Across much of North Carolina and the nation, the Manpower survey released Tuesday shows more employers are planning to increase hiring than are slashing more jobs.

With statewide unemployment at 7 percent and the jobless rate over 5 percent around the Triangle, any hiring is good news. The national jobless rolls swelled last week by the biggest numbers – 533,000 – in three decades. And as the economy continues to stumble, the percentage of firms planning to reduce payroll is only slightly less than those planning to add jobs.

Nonetheless, the data that Manpower reported is positive, says N.C. State University economics professor and author Mike Walden.

“It is reassuring and positive that the large majority of employers plan to hold employment steady, both nationally and in the Triangle, during the upcoming months,” Walden told The Skinny. “Although it is natural for us to focus on the negative aspects of a rising unemployment rate, it should be remembered that the majority (well over 90 percent) of people in the work force remain employed, and they will continue to remain employed in 2009.

“We are nowhere near 1930s-like Depression conditions, where one out of four workers were unemployed.”

In Raleigh-Cary, 13 percent of the firms surveyed plan to add jobs next quarter, and 11 percent plan cutbacks. The vast majority – 74 percent – anticipate no change. Manpower describes the hiring outlook as “moderate.” Best chances for hiring are in wholesale and retail trade, information, professional and business services, other services and government, Manpower found.

In the Durham metro area, the percentages are even more positive, with 19 percent of companies planning to hire and 11 percent looking to cut. Manpower sees the hiring trend as “steady.” Sectors looking to hire include non-durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality and other services.

In Fayetteville, meanwhile, 16 percent of firms are looking to hire and 8 percent anticipating layoffs. Job demand will be strongest in construction, wholesale and retail trade, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality and other services, according to the survey.

Manpower, which recently expanded its survey to nearly 32,000 firms, said nationally that 16 percent of firms plan to add workers. Another 13 percent are expecting to make cuts. Still, the numbers left Manpower somewhat cautious.

“A significant percentage – 67 percent – of employers plan to hold staff levels steady for the first quarter of 2009,” Jeffrey Joerres, Manpower’s chairman, said in a statement. “This may suggest that a majority of employers are carefully monitoring the uncertain economic environment prior to making any additional employment decisions.”


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  • mylincolnls Dec 10, 2008

    not to mention ... the companies replace a 40-50K paying job with a 20-25K job ... is that holding it steady? Also the unemployed number does not include people who ran out which would make that number a lot higher

  • yellow_hat Dec 9, 2008

    The way I read this - it is not weighted. If two companies hire one worker each, one company keeps employment steady, and another is going to lay-off 5,000 workers, then 50% of the companies surveyed will hire. Yet there is a net loss of 4998 jobs.

  • bs101fly Dec 9, 2008

    good, hire 'em. crisis over then.
    now make my investment go back to where they were 3 months ago!

  • SkinsFan Dec 9, 2008

    It is a market for the smartest and the hardest workers. If you don't like your job change it.

  • TheAdmiral Dec 9, 2008

    Psssst - Mr. Manpower survey guy - you have been wrong before. Like when you said that there was an 80% demand for computer people three years ago - when they were LAYING THEM OFF.

  • Reader X Dec 9, 2008

    Well it is nice to have jobs, but what I see are companies hiring more contractors and less regulars. Being a contractor right now myself I think it is horrible. They hire you at low wages, because of this it forces you to not take the health insurance pakages offered. In my case they just made us take a pay cut. I asked if this is temporary and they told us no. Not good since pay raises don't happen- EVER. I see more and more companies hiring contractors and more and more people can't afford health insurance because of this. Right now I have 2 jobs in order to pay my bills.

  • rmgirl Dec 9, 2008

    Generally, this just shows that the bigger part of the economic downturn is concept created by the media. RLG

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Dec 9, 2008

    Details WOULD be nice. Currently, it's an employer's market. Employees can be picked up real cheap right now.

  • dws Dec 9, 2008

    I would like to see the details of that survey