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Manpower Survey Shows Hiring Decline

U.S. employers are projecting a slight decline in hiring for third quarter 2008, according to the results of an employment outlook survey conducted by Manpower Inc.

MILWAUKEE -- U.S. employers are projecting a slight decline in hiring for Quarter 3 2008, according to the seasonally adjusted results of the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey conducted quarterly by Manpower Inc.

"While overall softness continues in the third quarter, employers are generally not reacting with large-scale payroll reductions," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "The gradual slowdown suggests that employers have become sophisticated at anticipating their hiring needs."

Of the 14,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 26 percent expect to increase their workforces during the July - September period, while 10 percent expect to scale back their payrolls for a net employment outlook of 16 percent (seasonally adjusted 12 percent). Fifty-eight percent expect no change in the hiring pace, and 6 percent are undecided about their hiring plans.

Results indicate that hiring in five of the 10 industry sectors surveyed will decrease slightly during the upcoming quarter compared to Quarter 2 2008 making it the weakest employment outlook since Quarter 4 2003.

Employers in the non-durable goods manufacturing, transportation/public utilities, wholesale/retail trade, finance/insurance/real estate and education sectors all point toward somewhat more guarded hiring activity.

Construction, durable goods manufacturing, services and public administration staff levels are expected to remain stable compared to the previous quarter.

Mining is the only sector indicating an increase in hiring for the upcoming quarter.

Employers in the Northeast and South anticipate a slight downturn in hiring heading into Quarter 3. In the Midwest, a positive net employment outlook is expected, while employers in the West are expressing a moderate decrease in hiring.

Employers in India, Singapore, Peru, Poland, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Romania, Argentina, Taiwan, Australia, Mexico and Japan report the most optimistic hiring plans. On the other hand, employers in Spain, Italy and Ireland are reporting the weakest job prospects in the next three months.

Of the seven countries surveyed in the Americas, employers in Peru, Costa Rica and Argentina are most optimistic about adding staff in the next three months, while those in Canada are the least optimistic. Mexican employers continue to be upbeat about hiring while employer confidence in the U.S. continues to decline.

As was the case in the second quarter, across the 17 countries surveyed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, employers in Poland, Romania, Greece, S. Africa and Norway are most optimistic about hiring in the quarter ahead.

In Asia Pacific, the survey continues to show varying degrees of positive hiring expectations. Employer hiring plans have softened from both the second quarter and one year ago in five of eight countries and territories surveyed.

The strongest employer hiring plans were again reported in India and Singapore, while employers in China reported the weakest hiring outlook in the region for the fourth consecutive quarter.

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