"Despite high fuel prices and other challenges, the global labor market looks set to improve in most of Europe and Asia in the second quarter, with steady hiring set to continue in the Americas," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc. "German employers are saying they will begin to add employees again, albeit modestly, and hiring activity in Japan should be vigorous, beyond what we normally see in the second quarter - their peak hiring season. Chinese employers say they will reduce their hiring activity compared to last year at this time, while U.S. employers expect to add to their payrolls at a continued steady pace."
Employers in 10 of 12 European countries surveyed are reporting stronger hiring intentions compared to first quarter and nearly two-thirds are reporting improvements from last year at this time. Second-quarter hiring prospects are the strongest in Spain, Norway, Sweden, Ireland and the UK, based on seasonally adjusted data. Notably, the only negative Outlook for Europe was reported in Italy where employers have been pessimistic for three consecutive quarters. German, Spanish, Swiss and Dutch employers are reporting their strongest hiring intentions since the survey began in those countries.
"Compared to the first three months of the year, hiring intentions in Europe are decidedly improved, however, Italy continues to lag behind," said Joerres. "Encouragingly, German employment prospects have improved from both the first quarter and a year ago at this time, with the strongest hiring activity anticipated by employers in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate/Business Services sector."
Of the eight countries and territories included in the survey across Asia Pacific, hiring activity is expected to be strongest in Japan, India and Taiwan, while the weakest hiring in the region is anticipated in Singapore, Australia and China. While hiring is set to improve from first quarter in the majority of countries surveyed in Asia Pacific, employment prospects are weaker than the same quarter of 2005 in Australia, China, New Zealand and Taiwan.
"A large part of the robust hiring expectations in Asia Pacific can be attributed to activity in the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, Manufacturing, and Services sectors, where improvements from first quarter were reported in these sectors across nearly every country," said Joerres. "Meanwhile, employers in five of six industry sectors we survey in China say they will slow hiring from one year ago, the only exception is the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sector."
Hiring across the Americas is expected to remain stable from last year at this time. Employers in Peru joined the survey this quarter with particularly optimistic second-quarter hiring plans, the strongest of the four countries surveyed. In Canada, employer hiring expectations are slightly improved from both the first quarter and this time last year.
"The labor markets in North America have been incredibly stable and, as is so often the case, the Mexican labor market is moving in tandem with its northern neighbor," said Joerres. "There is notable optimism amongst employers in the Construction sector in both the U.S. and Mexico, where job seekers should find favorable conditions."
The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on June 13 to report hiring expectations for the third quarter of 2006.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is available free of charge to the public through their local Manpower representative in participating countries. To receive e-mail notification when the survey is available each quarter, interested individuals are invited to complete an online subscription form at http://investor.manpower.com/distlist.cfm.