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Global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Reveals Continued Weak Hiring Ahead But More Employers Are Saying They Will Hold On to Current Staff in the Third Quarter

Europe's manufacturing job prospects worsen as German employers report first negative hiring outlook in three years; U.S. hiring forecast remains unchanged

Jun 9, 2009

In the third quarter of 2009 job seekers around the globe can expect more of the same sluggish hiring pace seen during the first half of the year, but worldwide a greater percentage of employers are saying they will hold on to the staff they have, according to the global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey results released today by Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN). Job prospects in the manufacturing industry sector have deteriorated further across Continental Europe and contributed to German employers' first negative hiring forecast in three years. The hiring picture in the U.S. remains unchanged from the second quarter, with the rate of labor market contraction expected to level off in the quarter ahead.


"Compared to three months ago, a greater percentage of the world's employers are telling us they will make no changes to their workforces, suggesting that the worst could be behind us. In the U.S., the cautious hiring pace will remain a challenge for job seekers as employers continue to adjust and align their workforces throughout the year to ride out this downturn and prepare for growth on the other side," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of Manpower Inc. "Across Europe, we are seeing a continued weaker appetite for employees in the Manufacturing sector. In fact, in Europe's largest economy, the percentage of German manufacturers expecting layoffs rose nine percent compared to the previous quarter."

Employers in 11 of 34 countries and territories surveyed expect some positive hiring activity in the coming quarter, but those in 22 are forecasting negative outlooks with 17 reporting their weakest hiring plans since the survey was established. While employers in all countries and territories are reporting weaker year-over-year forecasts, outlooks have improved from three months ago in 12 countries. Although weaker than historical patterns, third-quarter hiring plans are strongest in India, Norway, Poland, Peru, Singapore and Taiwan and weakest in Ireland, Spain, Greece, Romania, Italy, Japan and the U.K.

Across the eight countries and territories surveyed in the Asia Pacific region, employment prospects remain soft, with employers in India, China and Japan reporting their weakest hiring plans since the surveys were established in these countries. Despite the weak forecast for the Indian market, employers there remain the most optimistic in the region. On the other hand, compared to three months ago outlooks for half of the countries and territories have improved, most notably in Singapore and Taiwan.

"In our second quarter report, the Indian labor market showed signs of resilience, but employers there are now much more uncertain about adding employees. In India's key Services sector, 11 percent of employers are telling us they will reduce staff in response to weaker demand from offshore clients," said Joerres. "On a more positive note, the improved outlooks for Singapore and Taiwan are being bolstered by stronger demand in the Transportation and Utilities sector."

Of the 18 countries surveyed in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, only employers in Norway, Poland, Switzerland, South Africa and the Czech Republic are reporting positive, but modest, third-quarter hiring activity. As was the case in the previous quarter, in countries where year-over-year comparisons can be made, all outlooks are weaker. Job prospects in the region are strongest in Norway and Poland and weakest in Ireland and Spain. Hungarian employers are surveyed for the first time this quarter and, like the majority of their counterparts in the region, are reporting negative hiring expectations.

"In Norway, the positive outlook is due in part to upbeat hiring expectations in the Public/Social sector where government stimulus plans and a shortage of educators are boosting employer confidence. In contrast, employer optimism in the U.K. remains at a record low with 10 percent of employers saying they will cut staff in the quarter ahead," said Joerres. "Our operations in Poland indicate that infrastructure improvements within the country are fueling the strong hiring plans in the Construction sector, despite a slowdown in the residential market."

Across the eight countries surveyed in the Americas region, hiring expectations are weaker compared to three months ago in five countries. However, compared to one year ago, hiring plans are weaker across all of the Americas countries Manpower surveys.

"Canadian and U.S. job seekers in the Manufacturing-Durables sector will continue to struggle in the quarter ahead as employers grapple with demand issues, particularly those in the flagging automotive industry," said Joerres. "Notably, Mexican employers reported their second consecutive negative forecast despite employers in all sectors expecting to lift the pace of hiring from three months ago."

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on 8 September 2009 to report hiring expectations for the fourth quarter of 2009. 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

Commentary is based on seasonally adjusted data where available. Full survey results for each of the 34 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 Web site 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 most extensive forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in its size, scope, longevity and area of focus. The Survey has been running for more than 45 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 over 70,000 public and private employers worldwide and is considered a highly respected economic indicator.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is currently available for 34 countries and territories: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, 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, China, India, Switzerland and Taiwan were added in 2005, and Argentina, Peru, Costa Rica and South Africa joined in 2006. Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Poland and Romania joined in 2008 and Hungary was added in 2009. For more information, visit the Manpower Inc. Web site at and enter the Research Center, or contact Bruce Bock, Sr. Global Communications Manager at

About Manpower Inc.

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) is a world leader in the employment services industry; creating and delivering services that enable its clients to win in the changing world of work. Founded in 1948, the $22 billion company offers employers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; outsourcing and consulting. Manpower's worldwide network of 4,200 offices in 82 countries and territories enables the company to meet the needs of its 400,000 clients 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 across their total workforce, enabling clients to concentrate on their core business activities. Manpower Inc. operates under five brands: Manpower, Manpower Professional, Elan, Jefferson Wells and Right Management. More information on Manpower Inc. is available at

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