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Hiring to Increase Slightly at Start of New Year, Survey Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MILWAUKEE) -- Fourteen percent of bosses across the country plan to add jobs in the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released Tuesday by the ManpowerGroup.

“All four geographic regions that we surveyed report a positive hiring outlook for the first quarter of 2012,” explains Manpower vice president Melanie Holmes. “The Midwest is the strongest, and the West is the weakest.”

“Twelve of the 13 industry sectors that we surveyed have a positive outlook,” Holmes said. “Mining tops the list, followed by leisure and hospitality, wholesale and resale trade and professional and business services.” Only one industry sector -- construction -- is still negative, and that's because of the housing slump.

While the report offers an optimistic outlook for next year, Holmes says there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“When business is really good and the economy is healthy, our net employment outlook can be in the 20s -- and it’s in single digits currently,” Holmes said. “Historically we're not as positive as we'd like to be -- but again, the trend is going in the right direction. For nine straight quarters we've shown a positive hiring outlook.”

“When seasonal variations are removed from the survey results, the Net Employment Outlook for Quarter 1 2012 is +9%, an increase from the +7% Outlook during Quarter 4 2011, and stable compared to one year ago when the Outlook was +8%,” the report says. “This represents the most promising hiring Outlook since 2008.”

Manpower surveyed 18,000 employers for their latest report, which is released every three months.

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