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2020 outlook: Q1 hiring intentions in U.S remain steady

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. employers expect the hiring pace to remain steady in Q1 2020 though regional and industry forecasts are mixed, according to the ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) Employment Outlook Survey.

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The survey of more than 11,500 employers show softening in 10 of 13 industries and in two regions of the U.S., while employers in the South and the Midwest expect to hire at the strongest pace in 13 (+22%) and 19 (+21%) years, respectively.

Employers in all 13 industries report double-digit hiring intentions with the most optimistic Outlook in Leisure and Hospitality (+30%) the highest in three years as consumers dine out and keep spending.

Professional and Business Services are also optimistic with a +22% Outlook driven by demand for digital skills.

Prospects look healthy for jobseekers in Wholesale and Retail Trade (+22%), though the Outlook declined by two percentage points year-over year as brick and mortar retail adapt to increased demand for online offerings.

The Durable Goods Manufacturing Outlook (+17%) declined by one percentage point for the second consecutive quarter as employers remain cautiously optimistic in an uncertain global environment.

Employers in all 13 U.S. industry sectors expect to add workers during the upcoming quarter: Leisure and Hospitality (+30%), Construction (+22%), Professional and Business Services (+22%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (+22%), Transportation and Utilities (+19%), Government (+18%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+17%), Education and Health Services (+16%), Financial Activities (+14%), Other Services (+14%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+13%), Mining (+13%), Information (+12%).

In the South, employers anticipate the strongest regional hiring pace, up four percentage points quarter over quarter and the highest in 13 years (+22%).

The Outlook in the Midwest (+21%) is at a 19-year high.

Year-over-year hiring intentions weaken in the West and Northeast yet remain flat compared to last quarter.

In the West, the Outlook (+19%) declines by 1 percentage point compared to a year ago, while employers in the Northeast (+18%) report a decrease of 2 percentage

oints. Employers in Arkansas (+28%), Maryland (+27%), New Hampshire (+25%), and South Carolina (+24%) report the strongest Outlooks nationwide.

Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job gains are expected in Chattanooga, Tenn., (+34%), Columbus, Ohio, (+33%), Cape Coral, Fla. (+31%) and Deltona, Fla. (+31%).