U.S. Hiring Plans for Q4 2015 Strongest in Eight Years

U.S. employers predict the strongest hiring plans since the fourth quarter of 2007 in the final three months of this year, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released today by ManpowerGroup. Globally, evidence of definitive workforce gains remains patchy, amid signs the pace of recovery continues to be slow and uneven. 

Hiring plans among U.S. employers are the most upbeat in the Americas, and only Indian, Taiwanese and Japanese employers report more optimistic intentions to add to payrolls globally. Employers in Romania also anticipate strong hiring, while the weakest—with negative hiring intentions—are reported in Brazil, Italy, France, Greece and Finland. Chinese employers, while still positive in their hiring intentions, expect to add staff at the slowest rate in more than six years.

U.S. Results Summary

Of the more than 11,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 21% anticipate increasing staff levels in Q4 2015, while 6% of employers expect workforce reductions. Seventy-one percent of employers expect no change in hiring plans, and 2% are undecided about their hiring intentions. Once seasonal variations are removed from the data, the Net Employment Outlook stands at a favorable +18%, improving by 2 and 3 percentage points from last quarter and last year at this time, respectively.


Increase Staff Levels

Decrease Staff Levels

Maintain Staff Levels

Don’t Know

Net Employment Outlook


Q4 2015







Q3 2015

(previous quarter)






Q4 2014

(one year ago)






“The U.S. labor market continues to show broad-based, stable growth, with significant milestones over time such as hiring prospects at a seven-year high, unemployment at 5.1% and weekly jobless claims recently reaching a 40-year low,” said Jonas Prising, Chief Executive Officer of ManpowerGroup. “But as the labor market tightens, employers are increasingly telling us they are having difficulty finding skilled candidates – a situation not helped by the low labor participation rate.”

U.S. Hiring Plans by Regions, Industry Sectors and Metro Areas/States

Regionally, hiring Outlooks for the Midwest, South and West are consistent at 17%. Although Northeast employers report a slightly weaker Outlook, hiring plans for the region are stronger than at any point since Q2 2007.

Employers have a positive Outlook in all 13 industry sectors included in the survey, with Leisure & Hospitality (+27%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+21%), Professional & Business Services (+20%) and Transportation & Utilities (+20%) employers reporting the strongest intentions. Construction, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services and Transportation & Utilities report the most optimistic intentions since the survey moved to reporting 13 industry sectors in Q1 2009.

Among the 50 states, employers in Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Arizona and South Carolina indicate the strongest Net Employment Outlooks. Employers in Alaska, Wyoming, Illinois and Arkansas project the weakest Outlooks.

Among employers in the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects are expected in:

  • McAllen, Texas
  • Greenville, S.C.
  • Stockton, Calif.
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Cape Coral, Fla.

The weakest outlooks are projected in:

  • Youngstown, Ohio
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Los Angeles
  • St. Louis

Global Results Summary

Of the nearly 59,000 employers interviewed in 42 countries and territories across the globe, employers anticipate an increase in staffing levels in 36 countries and territories, compared with 40 of 42 in Q3. Hiring prospects strengthen in 15 of 42 countries and territories when compared with Q3, but decline in 20. Outlooks improve in 16 countries and territories compared with last year at this time, but weaken in 21.

  • Employers in India and Taiwan report the strongest hiring plans across the globe, while employer confidence in Japan is growing steadily – with job seekers benefiting from the most optimistic forecast reported since Q1 2008.
  • Employer optimism continues to dwindle in Brazil, sinking to its least optimistic level since the survey was launched there in Q4 2009 after more than four years of gradual decline. The Outlook decreases by 4 and 19 percentage points from Q3 2015 and Q4 2014, respectively.
  • Chinese employers anticipate modest growth in staffing levels during the coming quarter, reporting a Net Employment Outlook of +5%. However, the Outlook is the weakest reported since Q3 2009, declining by 8 and 4 percentage points from Q3 2015 and Q4 2014, respectively.

“The global labor market is uneven as countries and regions show varying degrees of intent to hire in the fourth quarter, illustrating the lack of widespread momentum,” added Prising. “Political uncertainty and economic difficulties have a dampening effect on employers’ intentions to increase their workforces. As a result, employers are remaining guarded on hiring until they sense more meaningful indicators of a market upturn.”

Complete results for the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey are available on our website. U.S. results can be found here, and results for all 42 countries surveyed are available here.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released Dec. 8, 2015, to report hiring expectations for Q1 2016. Sign up here to receive e-mail notifications when the survey is available each quarter.

*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

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