As the economy picks up, hiring confidence is strong going into the second quarter of 2018, with nearly one in five U.S. employers reporting plans to increase their workforce between April and June, according to the findings of a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook survey conducted by Manpower Group.

The results of the survey of more than 11,500 U.S. employers in 13 industry sectors, released on March 13, indicated that, allowing for seasonal variation, 18% of respondents plan to hire additional staff in Q2. This figure represents a decline of one percentage point compared to Q1 of 2018, and an increase of one percentage point compared to Q2 of 2017.

The findings showed that nationwide, employers in all 13 industry sectors anticipate an increase in staffing levels in Q2 2018. The strongest hiring outlooks were reported in leisure & hospitality (+28%), professional & business services (+23%), wholesale & retail trade (+23%), durable goods manufacturing (+19%), and transportation & utilities (+19%). The sectors with weaker hiring outlooks include construction (+17%), education & health services (+16%), financial activities (+15%), mining (+15%), government (+14%), information (+14%), nondurable goods manufacturing (+12%), and other services (+11%).

Employers surveyed in all four regions in the U.S. reported positive hiring outlooks for Q2 2018. The results showed that the outlook is strongest in the Midwest (+20%), but is nearly as high in the West (+19%), the South (+18%), and the Northeast (+17%). Compared to the outlook in Q2 2017, the hiring prospects in Q2 2018 are slightly stronger in the Midwest (+4% year over year) and the Northeast (+2% year over year), and are relatively stable in the South and the West.

Broken down by state, the strongest employment outlooks for Q2 2018 were reported in Wisconsin (+30%), New Hampshire (+30%), Alaska (+29%), Maine (+29%), and Colorado (+27%). Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects were reported in Provo, UT (+32%); San Antonio, TX (+32%); Madison, WI (+30%); Columbia, SC (29%); Seattle, WA (+29%); and Syracuse, NY (+29%). The metropolitan areas with relatively weak hiring intentions for Q2 include San Francisco, CA (+12%); Allentown, PA (+11%); Youngstown, OH (+9%), and Hartford, CT (+8%).

From Benefit Trends Newsletter, Volume 61, Issue 4

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