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UK employers report improved hiring intentions in Q4 2019, ManpowerGroup reveals

Mixed hiring intentions continue across the globe with outlooks strengthening quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year in 15 countries, remaining flat in 6 and weakening in 23 according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (NYSE: MAN). The global survey of 60,000 employers in 44 countries reported most optimistic outlooks in Japan (+26%), Taiwan (+21%) and the U.S. (+20%) and the weakest employment Outlooks were reported by employers in Spain (0%) and the Czech Republic (+2%).

In the Americas, employers in the US and Canada continue to report the most optimistic outlooks while hiring plans soften in Mexico and Columbia both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year. Employers in EMEA countries predict modest but stable outlooks with quarter-over-quarter improvements in Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Norway and Sweden. Some of the most optimistic outlooks globally are reported by employers in the Asia Pacific region yet the outlook in China declined four percentage points quarter-over-quarter to +4%.

Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup chairman & CEO, said, "Hiring plans for the next three months vary significantly globally with robust Outlooks reported in many large markets while the uncertainty of Brexit and the impacts of tariffs contribute to evidence of softer hiring intentions elsewhere.

"We are continuing to see employers planning to hire for technical and soft skills and committing to invest in their people with upskilling programs. Having a workforce strategy that attracts and retains critical talent and develops new skills will be a key priority across all organizations as industries continue to transform in the months and years ahead."

In EMEA, the strongest Q4 outlooks are reported in Greece (+18%), Slovenia (+17%), Norway and Sweden (10%), with hiring plans in most of the region's large economies remaining modest yet stable. Employers in all EMEA countries report positive Q4 Outlooks apart from Spain which is flat (0%).

Employers in France report a hiring outlook of +6% up year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter driven by improvements in many sectors including construction where employers report an outlook of +15%, the most upbeat forecast for the sector since the survey began 16 years ago.

In Germany employers report a stable employment Outlook of +6% up one percentage point quarter-over-quarter yet down year-over-year. Hiring outlooks in manufacturing decline by 2 percentage points quarter-over-quarter and an annual decline of -1%.

In the UK employers report improved intentions year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter with an outlook of +5%. The UK is the only major EMEA economy to predict a year-over-year hiring increase across the financial & business services sector, despite suggestions of financial services firms contemplating relocation after Brexit.

In the Americas, employers in all 10 countries in the region expect to increase their headcount with the U.S. now reporting the strongest outlook in the region for two years in a row.

US employers (+20%) report the region's most confident forecasts for Q4. The strongest US sector outlooks are reported in the leisure & hospitality (+27%), professional & business services (+24%) and wholesale trade & retail trade (+23%) sectors. All regions reported quarter-over-quarter decreases, while only the Midwest reported a year-over-year increase (+2%).

Argentina and Costa Rica employers report the region's weakest hiring intentions for Q4, at +3% each.

Employers in Mexico report positive hiring intentions of +8% for Q4. Outlooks declined year-over-year in six out of seven sectors in Mexico. The biggest decline was reported by manufacturing and mining & extraction employers – a sector exposed to recently imposed U.S. tariffs.

In Asia Pacific, hiring intentions in Japan (+26%) are the most positive in the region for the sixth consecutive quarter, while Chinese employers report weakened outlooks both year-over year and quarter-over-quarter.

Employers in Japan report the region's most confident hiring intentions (+26%), at a time when the tight labour market continues to boost hiring demand.

Employers in India report a thirteen-percentage-point increase quarter-over-quarter in the wholesale & retail trade sector and an eighteen percentage-point rise for the public admin & education sector, indicative of the strengthening economy and expanding middle class.

China's hiring outlook of +4% marked a four-percentage-point decline on Q3 and a three-percentage-point decline year-over year. Forecasts were positive but down quarter-over-quarter across all industries, most notably in finance, insurance & real estate where employers reported a seven-percentage-point fall on the previous quarter.

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