Employers in the U.S. plan to boost hiring during the next three months as the pace of economic growth picks up, a survey showed.
Manpower Inc., the world’s second-largest provider of temporary workers, said today its second-quarter employment index climbed to 10 percent, the highest level since late 2008, from 9 percent in the previous three months on a seasonally adjusted basis. That marked a second consecutive gain.
An improving job market puts Americans in a better position to increase spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. At the same time, rising gas prices are weighing on household budgets and may lead to fewer purchases of non-essential items in coming months.
“Positive hiring intentions tell us that employers are seeing increased demand for their products and services, and that is good news for the labor market,” Jonas Prising, president of the Americas for Milwaukee-based Manpower, said in a statement. “Although we are not out of the woods yet, our data shows that this hiring progression is increasingly solid.”
The share of survey respondents who expect to add workers from April through June rose to 18 percent, the most since the third quarter of 2011. The percentage of employers planning to cut back on hiring fell to 6 percent, the lowest in a year, from 9 percent the previous period.
The second-quarter employment index was up from 8 percent in the same period of 2011 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The measure subtracts the share of employers planning to cut jobs from those looking to hire, and adjusts the results for seasonal variations.
Seventy-two percent of employers said they anticipate staff levels will not change in the next three months of this year, compared with 70 percent in the previous quarter.
Other reports have signaled the job market is healing. Payrolls grew by 227,000 in February and the unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent, according to Labor Department figures released last week.
Today’s Manpower report showed employers in all 13 industries surveyed had a positive hiring outlook, up from 12 in the prior quarter. Construction, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality companies showed the greatest improvement.
Employers in all four major U.S. regions in the Manpower survey expected hiring to increase in the second quarter of 2012 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The West and the Northeast had the weakest outlooks.
Manpower interviewed more than 18,000 employers in the U.S. The survey is conducted quarterly, and the margin of error for U.S. data is plus or minus 0.6 percent.