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Global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Shows Fourth-Quarter Hiring Strongest in the United States, Mexico, Hong Kong and New Zealand

German Labor Market Continues Slow, But Steady, Improvement in Hiring Activity

Sep 14, 2004

In the fourth quarter of 2004, job seekers across the United States, Mexico, Hong Kong and New Zealand are likely to see a continuation of solid employment prospects, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results released today. Employers in 17 of 19 countries and territories say they expect positive hiring activity in the coming quarter, with 14 countries reporting stronger hiring levels compared to one year ago. Employers in Germany, Mexico and Hong Kong reported their most optimistic hiring intentions since Manpower began surveying in these countries. In the U.S., seasonally adjusted results reveal continuing employer optimism and solid hiring levels for the final period of 2004.

"The employment picture is notably improved from a year ago in most countries," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "However, seasonal hiring patterns are prominent in a number of countries where hiring is expected to soften moving from third quarter into the end of the year, when hiring typically slows."

This trend is most apparent in Europe, where employers in six of 11 countries expect the year to close with less robust hiring activity, compared to the previous quarter. However, employers in eight of 11 countries anticipated hiring to be stronger compared to one year ago. Employers in the UK and Ireland were the most optimistic in Europe, while Italian employers reported their first-ever negative Net Employment Outlook, which means on balance more employers expect to reduce staff than to add them. The only other European country to report a negative outlook was Germany, where employers are considerably less pessimistic than they were at the beginning of the year.

"The German labor market has slowly, but steadily, gained strength as the year has progressed," said Joerres. "The good news for workers is that 88 percent of German employers say they intend to hold on to current staff in the fourth quarter compared to just 68 percent last year at this time."

Results from countries surveyed in the Americas also showed improved hiring levels compared to the same time last year. "In the U.S., employers are optimistic when compared to one year ago, however, companies are taking a measured approach when looking forward," said Joerres. "The seasonally adjusted data reported for the Durable and Non-Durable Manufacturing sectors is the strongest of the year and comparable to levels reported during the late-'90s boom. Coupled with optimistic outlooks reported by employers in the Wholesale & Retail Trade and Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sectors, these results indicate that hiring activity in the U.S. labor market will continue to be solid through the end of the year."

The survey, based on interviews with over 35,000 employers across 19 countries and territories, also reveals positive hiring intentions elsewhere in the Americas. Mexico's vigorous fourth-quarter hiring outlook is largely due to activity in the Commerce and Manufacturing sectors. The positive Canadian hiring intentions are fueled by continued strong activity in the Construction and Wholesale & Retail Trade sectors, according to seasonally adjusted data.

In Asia Pacific, the employment picture continues to be positive in all countries, fueled largely by strong hiring expectations in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate and Transportation & Utilities sectors. New Zealand and Hong Kong employers reported the most optimistic outlooks, while employers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are considerably more optimistic about hiring in the fourth quarter than they were one year ago.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on the 14th of December 2004 to report hiring expectations for the first quarter of 2005.

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 .

Note to Editors

Full survey results for each of the 19 countries and territories included in this quarter's survey, plus regional and global comparisons, can be found in the Manpower Press Room at . In addition, all tables and graphs from the full report are available to be downloaded for use in publication or broadcast from the Manpower Online Visual Library, also located in the Press Room on .

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,

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