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Global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Reveals Mixed Views of the World's Labor Markets With Canadian and U.S. Employers Expecting Strongest First-Quarter Hiring in Four Years

Employers in Germany and Continental Europe Expect Hiring Slowdown in Q1

Dec 14, 2004

In the first quarter of 2005, Canadian and U.S. employers are anticipating the strongest first-quarter outlooks in four years. Meanwhile, employers in Germany and Continental Europe are expecting to slow the pace of hiring in the next three months, according to the global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results, which were released today by Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN). Employers in 17 of 19 countries and territories surveyed say they expect positive hiring activity in the coming quarter, and based on seasonally adjusted data, 12 countries are reporting stronger hiring levels compared to last year at this time.

"Our data shows Canadian and U.S. employers are more upbeat about first- quarter hiring than they have been in recent years," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "Unfortunately, the German labor market appears to have lost any traction gained in the previous two quarters. The percentage of German employers expecting layoffs rose six percent compared to the previous quarter. High oil prices, five-year high unemployment levels and a high Euro are all impacting German companies' decisions to hire."

The Manpower Inc. survey of more than 35,000 employers revealed that elsewhere in Europe, hiring intentions are decidedly mixed, with employers in Ireland, the UK and Norway anticipating the most buoyant labor market activity. When the data is seasonally adjusted, UK employers are the most optimistic in the region. The Net Employment Outlooks were weaker in six of 11 countries in Europe on a year-on-year basis and weaker in seven countries on a quarter-on-quarter basis. For the second consecutive quarter, the only countries in the survey indicating negative outlooks were Italy and Germany.

The employment outlook is decidedly more optimistic in Asia Pacific, where employers surveyed anticipate the continuation of healthy hiring activity, with all countries reporting improved outlooks compared to one year ago. Employers are most optimistic about hiring in New Zealand and Hong Kong and least optimistic in Singapore. The labor market in Hong Kong continues to improve, now showing a growth trend over six consecutive quarters.

In Japan, employers reported a considerably stronger outlook compared to last year at this time. "Improved employer hiring intentions in Japan point to a strengthening in the labor market," said Joerres. "As the demand for qualified workers continues to rise, worker supply may be a real challenge in the not so distant future."

Employers across the Americas indicate that the solid hiring levels seen at the close of 2004 will continue into the first quarter of 2005, with U.S. employers reporting the most optimistic hiring intentions. When seasonal variations are removed from the U.S. data, the Net Employment Outlook for nearly all industry sectors are at, or slightly above, the levels reported in the previous quarter.

"Notably, the hiring expectations for the U.S. Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sector are the strongest since the second quarter of 1979, no doubt bolstered by continued low interest rates," said Joerres. "The first-quarter results also reveal a continued strong hiring outlook in the U.S. Construction, Manufacturing and Services sectors."

Elsewhere in the Americas, Mexican employers expect to hire at a slower pace in the first quarter than they did at the close of 2004. However, hiring intentions are expected to be comparable to last year as this time. Employers are most optimistic about hiring in the Transport and Communication sector. Canadian employers in the Mining sector reported the most optimistic outlook, while Manufacturing-Durable Goods and Education employers reported the weakest hiring intentions for the upcoming quarter.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on the 15th of March 2005 to report hiring expectations for the second 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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