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Year-end hiring plans edge up in the U.S. according to Q4 2014 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

Globally, hiring plans are mostly positive with employers expecting to finish the year on a more confident note than they did in 2013, as outlooks strengthen in 29 countries and territories year-over-year and soften in just 12. Forecasts, however, are softer when compared with Q3. Fourth-quarter hiring confidence is strongest in India, Taiwan and New Zealand, while the weakest and only negative forecasts are reported in Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Finland. 

U.S. Results Summary

Of the more than 18,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 19 percent anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 4 2014 hiring plans, while anticipated staff reductions are consistent with past fourth quarter results at 7 percent. Seventy-two percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The final 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of 12%. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes 15%.

Slight Upswing in Hiring Levels Anticipated in U.S. By 18,000 Surveyed Employers


Increase Staff Levels

Decrease Staff Levels

Maintain Staff Levels

Don't Know

Net Employment Outlook


Q4 2014







Q3 2014

(previous quarter)






Q4 2013

(one year ago)






"During 2014, we have seen incremental growth across industries and regions as employers rebuild their internal teams and implement new operational strategies," said ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising. "The lack of any significant peaks or valleys in the survey results reflects a slow and steady climb that continues to define the employment landscape, and an enduring optimism that will carry us into 2015."

U.S. Hiring Plans by Regions, Industry Sectors and States/Metro Areas

The fourth quarter research shows that U.S. employers anticipate hiring intentions to stay relatively stable quarter-over-quarter across all regions, and increase slightly compared to one year ago at this time. Three regions report the strongest Outlooks in more than six years:

Employers in the Midwest report a Net Employment Outlook of 15%, which is the strongest since Quarter 4 2007 when the Outlook was 18%.

Employers in the South report a Net Employment Outlook of 15%, which is the strongest since Quarter 2 2008 when the Outlook was 17%.

Employers in the West report a Net Employment Outlook of 16%, which is the strongest since Quarter 1 2008 when the Outlook was 22%.

Employers have a positive Outlook in all 13 industry sectors included in the survey, with Leisure & Hospitality, Mining and Wholesale & Retail Trade employers reporting the strongest hiring intentions.

Among the 50 states, employers in North Dakota, Arizona, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin indicate the strongest Net Employment Outlooks, while Alaska, Maine, New Jersey and Arkansas project the weakest Outlooks.

Among employers in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects are expected in:



McAllen, Texas


San Jose, Calif.

The weakest Outlooks are projected in:

Akron, Ohio

Little Rock, Ark.


Spokane, Wash.

Providence, R.I.

Hartford, Conn.

Albany, N.Y.

Global Results Summary

More than 65,000 employers were interviewed to measure anticipated global labor market activity. Employers in 36 of 42 countries and territories surveyed expect to add to their workforces in the October-December time frame, compared to 37 of 42 in Q3 and 38 of 42 in Q2. 

There are noteworthy developments in individual country and territory reports. The Greek forecast continues the climb that started two years ago. While employers in Brazil and China expect to boost payrolls, the fourth quarter survey suggests they will do so at a pace far below historic levels. Labor market momentum has stalled in Ireland and Spain as outlooks in both countries slip once again into negative territory.

Employers in 18 of 24 countries in the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) region forecast payroll gains, while employers in five countries expect staffing levels to decline. Turkish employers report the region's most optimistic hiring plan, while the weakest forecast is reported in Spain.

Forecasts are stronger in three Asia Pacific countries and territories in comparison to Q3, weaker in another three and are unchanged in two. The strongest hiring plans — as well as the most optimistic across the globe — are reported by employers in India, while the weakest Asia Pacific forecast is reported in mainland China.

Employers across the 10 countries surveyed in the Americas continue to report positive hiring intentions, but hiring activity is expected to be marginally weaker in comparisons to both Q3 and one year ago. Employers in Colombia report the strongest fourth-quarter hiring plans, while job seekers in Costa Rica can expect the softest jobs growth. 

"Although it is difficult to detect a pronounced overriding trend in the global labor market, employers are generally telling us they intend to hire more robustly at the end of 2014 than they did at the end of 2013," added Prising. "Hiring patterns remain mixed across Europe and are trending softer in the Americas, but job opportunities remain positive across Asia. The continuing upward trend in Greece, which began in Q4 2012, is a particularly positive sign as we look ahead to 2015."

Complete results for the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey are available for download. Data specific to the U.S. can be found here, and results for all 42 countries surveyed are available here.

The Quarter 1 2015 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on Tues., Dec. 9, 2014. Sign-up here to receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter.

*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by subtracting the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity from the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.


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