U.S. hiring outlook dips, Asia strong -Manpower

* U.S. seasonally adjusted employment outlook dips

* Hiring intentions up in 19 of 35 countries

* Mixed signals on global jobs recovery

By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK, March 9 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. employers are slightly
less willing to hire workers in the coming quarter than they
were three months ago, even as hiring intentions improved in
most other countries and territories, especially in Asia,
according to a quarterly survey by Manpower Inc (MAN.N: )

Its U.S. survey renewed questions about the pace and
sustainability of a forecasted U.S. jobs recovery, and whether
eventual jobs creation will make much of a dent in the ranks of
unemployed, which now number some 17 million Americans.

The global employment services company said Tuesday its
seasonally adjusted U.S. net employment outlook was plus-5 for
the second quarter, down slightly from plus-6 in the previous
survey. It stood at minus-2 in the second quarter of 2009.

The index, based on interviews with 18,000 U.S. hiring
managers, measures the difference between those who say they
will add to their workforce and those who plan cuts. Nearly
three-quarters, or 73 percent, reported no change in their
hiring outlook, matching last quarter’s record.

“There is some demand, so (employers) won’t let people go,
but not enough confidence to do hiring,” Manpower Chief
Executive Jeff Joerres said.

The U.S. labor market is struggling to break a vicious
cycle, he said. Employers will not add capacity until they see
more demand for their products or services — demand that
depends largely on the U.S. consumer. But the consumer is not
willing to boost spending until the unemployment rate retreats
from its current 9.7 percent.

Such a “Catch-22” raises the prospect of slower economic
growth with persistent unemployment, which could make the
United States less globally competitive. It also argues for
continued government stimulus in the economy, Joerres said.

SNAIL’S PACE RECOVERY?

U.S. hiring intentions appear more robust, however, when
seasonal adjustments are ignored, according to Manpower. Such
adjustments make sense in a normal economic cycle — as, for
example, construction ebbs and flows with the seasons — but
may be less meaningful now.

Joerres said he expects government jobs data to report
consistent job creation in coming months, but it is unlikely to
show the 250,000 to 300,000 new jobs a month that would enable
the U.S. economy to repair the damage caused by the recession.

“A snail’s pace recovery is (equivalent to) falling back,”
Joerres said. “A very slow recovery is dangerous.”

U.S. payrolls fell less than expected in February and
growth in temporary jobs hinted at a possible wider jobs
recovery, but staffing industry executives said they did not
expect a fast reversal. [ID:nN05199732]

Manpower’s U.S. survey dates back to 1962 and is considered
a leading indicator of labor trends. Its surveys have a shorter
history in other countries, many of which were added just in
the past decade. The Milwaukee-based company does business in
82 countries and generates most of its revenue and profit
outside the United States.

GREECE CRISIS ADDS TO JOB DOUBTS

Manpower’s global survey of hiring intentions, based on
61,000 interviews, found better jobs prospects in 19 of 35
countries and territories when compared with the first quarter,
but also indicated continued hesitancy to ramp up staff.

More employers than in last quarter expect to boost hiring
in the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium and in Central European
economies. But Italy and Spain tied for the weakest outlook
worldwide, and job prospects are flat or down in Germany, in
the United Kingdom, Greece and Scandinavian countries.

Joerres compared the current debt crisis in Greece with the
political impasse in the United States over President Barack
Obama’s healthcare reform. Both are external factors that hurt
employer confidence and may make it harder for labor markets to
sustain a recovery.

“The Greek debt crisis is the same as our healthcare, this
added layer of complexity and doubt that hangs in the air,” he
said.

In Latin America, employers are most confident in Costa
Rica, Peru and in Brazil, where finance, insurance, real estate
and construction sectors are strong.

Employers in Asia reported positive hiring plans, with
India and Taiwan posting the best quarter-on-quarter gains, but
in Japan, more are expecting to cut jobs than to add them.
Japan is “an anomaly” in its region, challenged by an aging
labor force, high labor costs and restrictive immigration
policy, Joerres said.

Overall, Manpower’s global survey suggests a jobs recovery
in developed economies does not yet have much momentum, and
policymakers may need to risk creating some inflation in order
to stimulate economies, Joerres said. It is too soon to think
about withdrawing stimulus, he said.

“Putting the brakes on too fast can be dangerous,” he
said.

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(Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Matthew Lewis)

U.S. hiring outlook dips, Asia strong -Manpower