The question asked during the Manpower Interview of 1Q2008 employment trends is “How do you anticipate total employment at your location to change in the three months to the end of March 2008 as compared to the current quarter?”
22% of the 14,000 interviewed expected an increase in employment, 12% expected a decrease, 60% expected no change, while 6% of those surveyed didn’t know whether or not they expected their employment rolls to rise or fall during the first quarter of 2008.
The net employment outlook dropped from 12% in the first quarter of 2007 to an anticipated 10% in the first quarter of 2008.
Somehow or another this anticipated drop is translated into a “solid start to the year” according to Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc.
“Our survey data suggests it will be a solid start to the year when it comes to hiring in the United States,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc. “Overall, employers anticipate only marginal changes compared to three months ago, with the brightest job prospects reported by employers in the Mining and Services sectors. On the other hand, finding job opportunities in the Construction and Education sectors is expected to be more challenging for job seekers.”
When the numbers are seasonally adjusted 50% of the industry sectors surveyed expect a decrease in hiring compared to three months ago, including Construction, Non-Durable Good Manufacturing, Education, Services and Public Administration.
When you’re not familiar with the data provided in a report you’re subject to someone else’s interpretation of the numbers. While Joerres looks at 1Q 2008 as a “solid start to the year”, I look at the numbers without rose colored glasses and conclude the first quarter of 2008 will not be a solid start to anything.
Compared to a year ago nine out of the ten industry sectors anticipate a decrease in hiring. Mining and Transportation/Public Utilities is the only sector anticipating an increase in the first quarter of 2008 compared to a year ago. As you can readily see by the following chart prepared by Manpower, the employment outlook for the first quarter of 2008 is considerably lower than the first quarter of 2007, 2006, and 2005.
So, no matter how many times the numbers are presented in a positive light, the fact remains the employment outlook for the 1st quarter of 2008 is pretty dismal.