Originally created 08/29/00

Area employers increase staffs



Nearly a quarter of Augusta businesses expect to boost their employment rolls during the fourth quarter, an employment survey released Monday said.

About 23 percent of employers said they would increase their staffing levels, while 64 percent said they would keep employment level, according to the survey by Milwaukee-based Manpower Inc. Only 3 percent of respondents said they anticipated decreasing their employment.

Job openings are expected in durable and nondurable goods manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade and services as companies gear up for the holiday season.

"It's the anticipation of Christmas that makes the year-end look so favorable," said Debra Elder, Manpower district manager.

The expected increase exceeds the company's third-quarter survey in which 17 percent of businesses said they would hire additional workers.

However, Augusta's increase falls below the state average of 35 percent and the national average of 32 percent. Businesses in Athens had the highest percentage of respondents - 53 percent - who said they planned to hire more workers; Albany had the lowest at 20 percent.

The forecast for job demand was weaker in Aiken, where only 17 percent of companies surveyed said they would hire more help, the same percentage as the third quarter. On the upside, no Aiken businesses said they planned cutbacks or layoffs.

Manpower said job openings in Aiken are likely to be in manufacturing of nondurable goods, wholesale and retail trade, and education.

According to the outlook survey, demand for additional workers is at record levels.

Ms. Elder said the increased availability of jobs should continue into next year.

"Of course, with the election we'll never know, but so far it looks good," she said.

Ms. Elder said 25 to 30 companies were contacted for the survey in Aiken and Augusta.

Manpower, a global temporary staffing agency, has completed the survey nationally for 24 years on a quarterly basis by telephoning 16,000 public and private employers in 488 U.S. cities.

Reach Jennifer Bishop at (706) 823-3217.