Canada Companies Plan to Hold Steady on Staffing, Manpower Says

Most Canadian employers plan to maintain staffing levels in the first quarter of 2012 and expect the hiring climate to remain moderate, according to a survey by Manpower Inc. (MAN)

Canada’s net employment outlook, which subtracts the percentage of companies planning to cut jobs from the percentage that say they’ll hire, reached a seasonally adjusted 15 percent, up from 13 percent three months ago, the survey by the Milwaukee-based employment-services firm showed. The first- quarter figure is up two percentage points from the same period last year.

The data suggest “some gains in employer optimism,” especially in the manufacturing-durables sector, Byrne Luft, vice president of operations, staffing services, for Manpower Canada, said in a statement.

Canada’s labor market posted back-to-back job losses for the first time since the 2009 recession in November, Statistics Canada reported Dec. 2. Employment fell by a net 18,600 last month, led by cuts in part-time and service-industry work.

“Despite slight improvement overall, many employers are evidently taking time to evaluate current market conditions and demand for their products and services before committing to additional employees,” said Luft, adding that hiring plans are most optimistic in Western Canada.

Sixteen percent of employers that responded to the Manpower survey said they plan to increase payrolls in the first quarter, while 10 percent anticipate cutting jobs. Seventy-one percent plan to maintain staffing levels, and three percent were unsure of their hiring intentions.

The net employment outlook was most positive in the manufacturing-durables sector, at 19 percent, up from 17 percent in the fourth quarter.

The survey of more than 1,900 Canadian employers is conducted quarterly and has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Mayeda in Ottawa at amayeda@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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