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The jobs outlook is stable … for now

June 14, 2016
Manpower says U.S. jobs outlook remains stable

When we get down to the brass tacks, job creation is one the biggest underlying concerns regarding any sort of economic forecast. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters most, for good jobs are what allow American families to prosper – and that “prosperity” in turn drives the U.S. economy, as right around 70% of it is made up of consumer spending.

[Thus it is no stretch of the imagination to recognize how all that spending influences freight demand.]

Right now, the U.S. is home to a pretty stable job market – probably the best anywhere on the planet, if the latest research from the Manpower Group is to be believed.

Of the more than 11,000 U.S. employers surveyed by the firm, 23% anticipate increasing staff levels in this third quarter this year; a 1% uptick from the second quarter and a 1% decline from the same period in 2015.

Only 5% of U.S. employers said they expect to make workforce reductions, while 71% expect no change in their hiring plans – making for a pretty stable job market overall, noted Kip Wright, senior vice president for Manpower in North America, in a statement.

"Although employers have been increasingly cautious for the last three quarters, the U.S. hiring outlook is among the strongest globally, and we expect to see modest improvements in the labor market throughout most of the country," Wright added.

"This is good news for job seekers and organizations; as the competition for talent heats up, the way in which companies engage individuals is more critical than ever,” he said. “Employers need to ensure they have the skills and resources they need – right when they need them."

Yet while “transportation and utilities” is one sector of the U.S. economy witnessing a lot of job growth (up 19% according to Manpower) that growth is uneven at best – witness this job report for trucking jobs May as but one example.

And while trucking continues to suffer from a driver shortage – as well as one for technicians, too – not a whole lot of folks are interested in piloting big rigs for a paycheck anymore.

Then there is the so-called “skills gap,” one of the bigger long-term issues problems hanging over this hiring forecast – especially when it comes to skilled trade positions such as truck technicians.

Aside from those broader trends, here are a few more tidbits from Manpower’s research on where the job markets are hot (or not) by state and “metropolitan statistical area” or MSA.

States and MSAs with the strongest net employment outlook: Maine, Idaho, Montana, Delaware, Oregon, and Kentucky. The ones with the weakest: Louisiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Nevada and Wyoming.

Among employers in the 100 largest MSAs, the strongest job prospects are expected in:

  • Albany, New York
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

The weakest outlooks are projected in:

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Bakersfield, California

Quarter over quarter, U.S. employers in the Midwest, Northeast and South anticipate a slight decrease in hiring, while employers in the West expect hiring to remain relatively stable, Manpower said.

Good trends, to be sure, but let’s hope that stays on track going forward.

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