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Employers Reveal Continued Optimism With Steady Hiring Plans for Q3 According to Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

Belgium, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore and Spain Report Highest-Ever Outlooks

Jun 15, 2004

Hiring activity is expected to increase in the majority of the world's labor markets compared to last year at this time, according to the results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today. Employers in five countries -- Belgium, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Singapore and Spain -- reported their most optimistic hiring intentions since Manpower began surveying them a year ago.

"The third-quarter survey data shows the strongest employment expectations in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "Employers in many countries are echoing their intentions to hire just as optimistically as they did in our second-quarter survey. This is a good sign. Compared to a year ago, hiring intentions have improved in 16 of 19 countries."

The survey, based on interviews with over 35,000 employers across 19 countries and territories, revealed that the U.S. jobs outlook continues to be much improved over the same quarter in 2003, with employer optimism holding steady from second quarter into the third quarter. "In last quarter's survey, we saw a significant improvement in employers' intentions to add staff. The survey data for the third quarter reveals good news for job seekers, as employers are telling us that they intend to continue hiring from now through September," said Joerres. "We are seeing continued strength in expected hiring activity for the Durable and Non-Durable Manufacturing and Construction sectors. Employer optimism in the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector has improved significantly and steadily since the beginning of the year." The U.S. employment outlook for third quarter remains the strongest since the first quarter of 2001.

A stable employment picture prevails elsewhere in the Americas, with Canadian employers reporting slightly improved job prospects quarter-over-quarter, and Mexico reporting a positive, but unchanged employment outlook.

Of the regions in the survey, Asia Pacific reported the strongest year-over-year improvements in employer optimism, with Hong Kong and Singapore showing a steady growth trend over the last four quarters. "Last year, the SARS crisis gripped the region, severely restricting travel and trade, which had an adverse affect on their labor markets. Employers are decidedly more optimistic this year. What a difference a year makes," said Joerres.

In Japan, the outlook has improved substantially compared to last year at this time, although hiring is expected to wane slightly in the third quarter, following the peak hiring activity that traditionally occurs in Japan in the second quarter of each year. Hong Kong and Singapore have substantially improved since the second quarter survey, largely fueled by robust hiring activity in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sector.

Across Europe, third-quarter hiring expectations vary little from the previous quarter. The strongest hiring outlooks are reported in Ireland, Sweden, Spain and the UK. German employers expect no change in hiring levels from the second quarter and a downturn in hiring is expected in the Austrian labor market.

"The high number of layoffs seen in Germany last year seem to have stabilized and companies appear to be more optimistic than they were a year ago," said Joerres. "The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey shows 84 percent of German employers intend to hold on to current staff in the third quarter, which is a good sign for workers."

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on the 14th of September 2004 to report hiring expectations for the fourth quarter of 2004.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is available free of charge to the public through their local Manpower representative in participating countries. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, interested individuals are invited to complete an online subscription form at .

About the Survey

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. It is the only forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in its size, scope, longevity and area of focus. The Survey has been running for more than 40 years and is one of the most trusted surveys of employment activity in the world. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on interviews with more than 35,000 public and private employers worldwide and is considered a highly respected economic indicator.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is currently available for 19 countries and territories: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The program began in the United States and Canada in 1962, and the United Kingdom was added in 1966. Mexico and Ireland launched the survey in 2002, and 13 additional countries were added to the program in 2003. New Zealand joined the program in 2004. For more information, visit the Manpower Inc. Web site at and enter the Press Room.

About Manpower

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) is a world leader in the employment services industry, offering customers a continuum of services to meet their needs throughout the employment and business cycle. The company specializes in permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment; training; career transition and organizational consulting services. Manpower's worldwide network of 4,300 offices in 67 countries and territories enables the company to meet the needs of its 400,000 customers per year, including small and medium size enterprises in all industry sectors, as well as the world's largest multinational corporations. The focus of Manpower's work is on raising productivity through improved quality, efficiency and cost-reduction, enabling customers to concentrate on their core business activities. In addition to the Manpower brand, the company operates under the brand names of Right Management Consultants, Jefferson Wells, Elan, and Brook Street. More information on Manpower Inc. is available at .

SOURCE: Manpower Inc.

CONTACT: Bruce Bock of Manpower Inc., +1-414-906-6193, or

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