Originally created 05/23/00

Labor force to increase



Manpower Inc.'s employment outlook for the third quarter revealed that 17 percent of Augusta businesses surveyed expect to increase their permanent payroll starting in July.

The global provider of integrated staffing and work force management released the survey results Monday. Along with the 17 percent increase, the report showed that 83 percent of those surveyed expect no change, while none expect a decrease.

New job openings are expected in construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade and education.

"The third quarter can be one of the most active hiring periods of the year, and with the robust economy, quite challenging in recruiting and retaining workers," district manager Debbie Elder said.

"A lot of companies are in peak season. The economy is in overall good shape right now," she said.

The survey found that Aiken will have the same percentage of labor force increases as Augusta, but the decrease in jobs will be more. While 17 percent of firms in Aiken expect their payrolls to increase, 10 percent said fewer workers will be needed.

The best job prospects in Aiken will be in nondurable goods manufacturing and public administration.

The 17 percent increase ranks below state and national averages. Georgia's average expected increase was 32 percent, and South Carolina's was 33 percent.

In comparison with the national results, the Aiken-Augusta area is lagging behind in terms of new hires. Across the United States, 35 percent of employers plan staff additions and only 5 percent expect reductions.

According to the outlook survey, the labor force demand is unprecedented. A record number of companies will be seeking additional staff in the upcoming quarter.

Ms. Elder said 25 companies were contacted in each city.

"We cover all aspects: manufacturing, retail, finance, construction, education," she said.

Manpower Inc. has completed the survey on a quarterly basis for 24 years by telephoning nearly 16,000 public and private employers in 488 U.S. cities.

Reach Jennifer Bishop at (706) 823-3217.