MRO Magazine

Spring hiring climate looks positive, says survey

North York, ON -- Mar. 14, 2003 -- Canadian employers are anticipating the strongest second quarter hiring climate...


March 14, 2003
By MRO Magazine

North York, ON — Mar. 14, 2003 — Canadian employers are anticipating the strongest second quarter hiring climate in two years, according to the latest Employment Outlook Survey released by Manpower Inc.

The survey of employer intentions for the April-June 2003 period shows that 31% anticipate new opportunities, while 5% envision smaller payrolls. Another 60% indicate they will maintain present workforce levels, while 4% are unsure of their plans.

“Expectations for the upcoming quarter are similar to those issued for the second period of 2001 and represent a significant increase in hiring potential over last year’s forecast,” Steve Walker, Manpower vice-president and general manager, said.

“The outlook was more reserved a year ago at this time when 25% voiced hiring plans and 7% predicted reductions. Three months ago, employers were ambivalent as 15% foresaw adding workers, but 16% voiced plans to cut back.”


The construction industry is painting the strongest picture as many plan to hire more workers as warmer weather returns. A year ago at this time, projections were not as vigorous. Three months ago, anticipating weather conditions not suitable for construction, the outlook was dim in this industry.

Wholesale and retail merchants are anticipating the strongest-second quarter hiring climate in 25 years with projections often seen for the fourth quarter holiday-buying season. Services employers also anticipate a significant upswing in staffing activity as they voice the most optimistic plans in over a decade.

The education sector, which had been very active over the past year or so, appears to be cooling off as more moderate projections were issued for this quarter.

The outlook by industry was as follows:

MINING: A positive hiring pattern is projected by the mining industry as 32% anticipate the need for more workers and 9% plan to cut back. A year ago at this time, projections were more reserved.

CONSTRUCTION: This quarter’s strongest industry category, 43% of the construction firms queried intend to add personnel, while 4% foresee decreases. Prospects were less robust a year ago. As usual, the outlook last quarter was dim.

DURABLE GOODS MANUFACTURING: The heartiest hiring plans in more than two years are voiced in durable goods manufacturing where 27% plan to add employees and 7% plan cutbacks. Three months ago employers were divided. Moderate projections were issued a year ago at this time.

NON-DURABLE GOODS MANUFACTURING: Non-durable goods manufacturers are also expressing optimism. According to the survey, 28% plan to enlarge their staffs and 6% foresee reductions. Projections were modest three months ago. Last year at this time, the outlook also held less potential when 21% voiced hiring plans and 9% planned reductions.

TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC UTILITIES: Another industry category showing more promise than a year ago is transportation and public utilities. The survey reveals that 27% plan to hire this spring, while 7% foresee cuts. The outlook for the second quarter of last year was not as bright. Three months ago, employers were much more reserved.

WHOLESALE & RETAIL TRADES: Wholesale and retail merchants are reporting the second quarter’s most optimistic hiring plans in the 25 years of the survey. The results show that 40% expect to add workers and 4% foresee a decrease. Last year, more moderate projections were issued. Three months ago the outlook was weak as merchants cut back after the holidays.

FINANCE, INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE: Moderate job growth is expected in the finance, insurance and real estate category as 20% foresee the need for more personnel and 4% say decreases are in order. Employers were more reserved both last year and last quarter.

EDUCATION: This category is the weakest among all the industry sectors this quarter. Educators are voicing the softest prospects in three years as 24% report the need for more employees and 13% foresee reductions. Prospects in education were brighter both last year and three months ago.

SERVICES: A bump in employment activity is anticipated in the services sector this spring as 34% voice hiring plans and 5% plan cuts. Employers were more reserved last year and divided three months ago.

PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: Steady employment growth is expected to continue in public administration this quarter as 26% foresee new opportunities and 2% envision reductions. Similar plans were voiced in 2002 and last quarter.

The quarterly Employment Outlook Survey is conducted as a public service by Manpower Inc. of North York, Ont. The company’s international headquarters is in Milwaukee, Wisc. It has 50 locations in Canada and 3,900 offices in 61 countries. Manpower provides workforce management services and solutions to customers and employment to 2.7 million people worldwide. More information can be found at the company’s website,