U.S. Employers Appear to Have Double-Digit Hiring Intentions in Q4 2019

by Ruth Seeley

Despite fears of recession driven by political uncertainty over threatened tariffs, the fourth quarter of 2019 looks positive on the hiring front. ManpowerGroup’s Q4 2019 Employment Outlook Survey indicates the hiring pace will remain positive throughout the quarter, with hiring intentions improving one percentage point compared to a year ago.

The last time the survey of more than 11,500 employers reported a Q4 Outlook as high as +20% was in Q4 2006. The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

Employers in all 13 industries report double-digit hiring intentions with the most optimistic Outlooks reported in Leisure & Hospitality (+27%) as consumers continue to spend. Employers in Professional & Business Services are also optimistic with +24% Outlook, increasing the demand for workers with specialized skills. Prospects look healthy for jobseekers in Wholesale & Retail Trade (+23%) and active in Transportation & Utilities, (+22%) ahead of the holiday season. Employers in Financial Activities, which includes roles in banking, insurance and real estate, are reporting the sector’s weakest Outlook in two years at +13%, after business investments fell in Q2. Some signs of softening appear in Manufacturing with reduced yet still positive hiring plans quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.

“We’re still in a time of unprecedented opportunity for U.S. workers as there are more open jobs than there are people actively seeking work,” said Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America. “While the global economic landscape is increasingly uncertain, employers still intend to hire across all industries. Businesses are staying focused on growth and we’ve seen more commit to investing in upskilling their people—that is, teaching them new skills for future jobs—in the last two months than we have in the last two years. We’re advising clients on how to align these training programs with future roles, creating career pathways to help people stay employable for the long-term.”

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

Nationwide, employers in all 13 industry sectors report stable hiring intentions in Q4 2019. The strongest Outlooks include:

  • Leisure & Hospitality (+27%)
  • Professional & Business Services (+24%)
  • Wholesale & Retail Trade (+23%)
  • Transportation & Utilities (+22%)
  • Construction (+21%)
  • Government (+19%)
  • Durable Goods Manufacturing (+18%)
  • Education & Health Services (+15%).

The lowest Outlooks are for:

  • Financial Activities (+13%)
  • Mining (+13%)
  • Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+13%)
  • Information (+10%).

Employers in all four U.S. regions report weaker hiring plans when compared with the previous quarter. In the West, the Outlook (+19%) declines by 3 percentage points, while employers in the South (+18%) report a decrease of 2 percentage points. Hiring intentions are 1 percentage point weaker in the Midwest (+20%) and the Northeast (+18%).

Employers in Nevada (+25%), Utah (+25%), Kansas (+24%), and North Carolina (+24%) report the strongest Outlooks nationwide. Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job gains are expected in Columbus, Ohio, (+31%), Richmond, Va., (+29%), Greensboro, N.C. (+28%) and Provo, Utah (+28%).

Complete results for the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey are available here.

Source: ManpowerGroup

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