Manpower survey: Job outlook positive in early 2010

There are more companies planning to hire than to fire in the Augusta metro area, according to a quarterly survey from a national staffing firm.

Results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the first three months of 2010 show 15 percent of interviewed companies plan to hire more employees, 11 percent expect to reduce their payrolls and 71 percent will maintain current staff levels.

“Employers are more optimistic about hiring activity as compared to one year ago,” said Manpower spokesman Ed Spence. Sentiment in the first quarter 2009 outlook was 13 percent hiring and 13 percent firing.

Augusta’s outlook is better than the nation’s. Of the more than 28,000 employers surveyed by Manpower Inc., 12 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels and 12 percent expect a decrease.

"The data points to encouraging news. A record number of employers plan to keep staff levels stable, which is good for the employed, and an overall positive outlook means expanding opportunities for job seekers," said Jonas Prising, Manpower president of the Americas. "Employer uncertainty around hiring is shifting from whether to consider adding staff, to when - and at what rate - to make the investment."

For the coming quarter, job prospects locally appear best in construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, professional and business services and in hospitality.

Surveyed employers in durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, education and health services and government plan to reduce staffing levels.

Manpower, based in Milwaukee, has a network of 4,400 offices in 73 countries and territories and annually serves 400,000 clients. It has an office in Augusta.

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