Firms plan to hire but service sector lags: survey

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – Plans by U.S. firms to increase payrolls over the next six months have risen to the highest level since January 2008, but some service sector companies still see layoffs, according to a survey released on Monday.

The survey by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) also showed strong demand in the goods-producing sector, while service sector businesses reported a softening in their expansion rates.

The results echo recent trends in the U.S. economy. Although the services sector dominates the economy, the manufacturing sector has led the recovery. Layoffs in the services sector could further slow the recovery.

The survey showed that half of the 79 NABE members who took part expected to increase payrolls.

In the services sector, of the 28 respondents, 4 percent saw layoffs over the next six months, 36 percent planned to hire more workers, while 57 percent saw no change in payrolls.

“Only the services sector continues to anticipate layoffs,” the NABE said in a statement.

The survey was conducted from June 11-29.

After sturdy job gains early this year, the labor market lost strength in recent months, hurting consumer spending and helping to slow the pace of the recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s.

Still, the NABE noted that layoff and attrition activity declined to 14 percent of respondents from 28 percent a year ago.

In the second quarter, the percentage of respondents reporting increases in employment touched its highest level since the second quarter of 2007.

“Over the past two quarters the goods-producing sector has experienced a dramatic recovery in hiring trends,” the NABE said, noting that 42 percent of respondents in the sector reported increased hiring in the current survey, up from zero in January.

The survey also found that about a quarter of respondents’ companies had increased capital spending in the second quarter, with the finance, insurance and the services sector dominating. Transportation, utilities, information and communications sector respondents reported no increase in capital spending.

Industries reported a slowing in the demand growth rate during the second quarter, the survey showed.

Economists have revised down their forecasts for second-quarter gross domestic product growth, on expectations that economic growth slowed in the period.

“Demand growth, though slower in the aggregate than during the first quarter of the year, remained broad-based, with all four major industry sectors expanding for a second consecutive quarter,” the NABE said.

Strong demand was reported in the goods-producing sector, while the finance, insurance, and real estate sector accounted for the deceleration in overall industry demand.

About 59 percent of the firms believed Europe’s sovereign debt crisis would have no impact on them, while 35 percent worried they could be hurt.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Firms plan to hire but service sector lags: survey