Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Little Good News

Here’s a little spark of good news on the employment front: two-thirds of U.S. employers say they’re going to hold steady on hiring in the first quarter of 2009, while 16 percent plan to increase hiring and 13 percent plan to lay off workers, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

The survey asked about 32,000 employers in 201 metro areas: “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of March 2009 as compared to the current quarter.”

While it won’t tell you if your boss is planning to pink slip you tomorrow, you can take a look at what’s happening in your area by checking the state and city results at Manpower’s media Web page (use the drop-down box to pick your state).

Among 13 industry sectors, professional and business services had the second highest net employment outlook: 23 percent of firms planned to hire, 12 percent to decrease staff and 60 percent anticipated no changes.

Surprisingly, some companies in the financial activities sector -- which pretty much every indicator shows shed record numbers of jobs in 2008 – actually say they’re planning to increase staff. Although 71 percent of companies weren’t planning to add or subtract staff, 15 percent planned to hire, while only 10 percent planned to decrease staff in the first quarter of 2009, the survey found.

At the risk of pouring sour milk on your cornflakes, here are the top five cities (it’s actually more than that because some cities tied) with the weakest net employment outlook:

1. Barnstable Town, Mass.
2. Port St. Lucie, Fla., Reno, Nev. and San Diego
3. Flint, Mich.
4. Merced, Calif., Toledo, Ohio, and San Jose, Calif.
5. Wilmington and Greensboro. N.C., and Detroit

To end on a positive note, here are the top five cities with the strongest net employment outlook (FYI, mining was the number one strongest sector):

1. Lafayette, La.
2. Beaumont, Tex.
3. Houston, Tex.
4. Amarillo, Tex., Burlington, Vt.
5. Des Moines

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