MILWAUKEE -- Twenty-three percent of US employers plan to hire more people in the first quarter of next year, a level of growth on par with the same period last year but lower than more recent quarters, according to a survey of 14,000 companies.
The report is the 12th straight quarter that more than 20 percent of companies surveyed said they plan to add to their staffs. But it would be the second straight quarter in which the predicted rate of hiring has fallen. The survey showed that when asked about the current quarter, 28 percent of companies said they would increase hiring, down from the year's peak of 31 percent in the quarter before this one. The most recent survey, prepared for release today, was conducted by the Milwaukee-based global staffing firm Manpower Inc.
It is too early to tell whether the dip in hiring intentions will turn into a trend, said Jonas Prising, president of Manpower North America. Companies on the whole still seem to be stable, he said.
Eleven percent of companies surveyed expect to reduce employment in the first quarter, while 60 percent expect no change. Six percent of companies are unsure of their plans, according to the quarterly survey, which has been conducted since 1962.
Industries such as non-durable goods manufacturing -- including gasoline and food -- along with retail and services see little change in the first quarter of the year, the survey showed. But the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors will see a dip, with 21 percent of companies planning to increase hiring, down from 23 percent the previous quarter and 27 percent in the third quarter.