Employers in the U.S. said they planned to boost hiring in the third quarter, a survey showed.
Manpower Inc.’s employment index for the period from July through September climbed to 11 percent, the highest reading in four years, from 10 percent in the second quarter, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based, staffing company reported. The measure was at 8 percent a year earlier.
For the first time since 2008, employers held positive outlooks on hiring in consecutive quarters in all four regions of the country and in all industries. The figures may ease concern that the job market is faltering after Labor Department data showed employment rose in May at the slowest pace in a year.
“We’ve been climbing out of this slowly,” Manpower Chief Executive Officer Jeff Joerres said in an interview. “It’s nothing fantastic, but it’s a hand-over-hand rappelling up the hill.”
Job growth puts Americans in a better position to increase spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. A tepid recovery, the slowdown in Europe and U.S. policy concerns related to taxes and health care may be making some companies reluctant to hire.
“Companies are quick to adjust,” Joerres said. “If there are some heavy clouds building on the horizon, you’ll see the numbers slow down.”
The economy added 69,000 jobs in May, less than the most-pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate, which rose to 8.2 percent, has held above 8 percent for 40 months, the longest stretch of such elevated levels in the post-World War II era.
In today’s Manpower report, 21 percent of the more than 18,000 companies surveyed said they planned to increase staff levels in the next three months. Six percent said they expected to reduce payrolls.
Leisure and hospitality companies were the most optimistic among the 13 industries polled, while those located in the Midwest and South were more upbeat.
The Manpower survey is conducted quarterly and has a margin of error for U.S. data of 0.6 percent.