The red-hot Colorado Springs job market is expected to cool somewhat during the fourth quarter, but it still will stay slightly better than a year ago, says a survey by staffing giant ManpowerGroup.
The outlook, based on the difference between the percentage of local employers planning to hire and those expecting cuts, is projected to be 18 percent in the October-to-December quarter, up 1 percentage point for the fourth quarter of 2016.
That's down from each of the two previous quarters, when the outlook was 31 percent and 28 percent for third and second quarters, respectively, and ranked the Springs as the nation's third-best job market. The third quarter outlook was the best locally in more than 10 years.
The area's unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in July, the most recent data available, and has remained below 3 percent since March even as the labor force has expanded by nearly 5,000 people.
The number of jobs posted by employers with the Pikes Peak Workforce Center in June, the most recent available, exceeds the number seeking work by more than 2,500.
"I'm not surprised to see the local job market leveling off because it has been so robust for so long," said Tatiana Bailey, director of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum. "With the unemployment rate remaining this low for so long, that is an indicator that we are late in the economic cycle."
The local outlook ranked 39th among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, tied with Baton Rouge, La.; Los Angeles; Milwaukee; New Orleans; San Francisco and Springfield, Mass. The nation's top job market was in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., with a 37 percent job market outlook, which Manpower calls Net Employment Outlook.
The Colorado Springs outlook resulted from 23 percent of employers planning to add staff and 5 percent anticipating reductions. The rest either expected to maintain current staffing or didn't know.
Other data in the report:
- Industry breakdown: Job prospects remain strong in all sectors except manufacturing, education and health services, which remain unchanged.
- Statewide picture: The local outlook is better than the Denver area's 11 percent, which tied for 81st with Albany, N.Y., and Baltimore. The Denver outlook for the fourth quarter was half as strong as it was a year ago at 11 percent. The statewide outlook also weakened from 20 percent a year ago to 15 percent in the upcoming quarter.
- Nationwide: The U.S. outlook, 15 percent, isn't as strong as the Colorado Springs outlook but matches the state's outlook. After adjustments for seasonal factors, the nationwide outlook is 17 percent, or the same as the current quarter and down 1 percentage point from the fourth quarter of 2016. All 13 sectors of the U.S. job market anticipate more hiring.
- Sample size: More than 11,500 employers were surveyed nationwide. The Milwaukee-based company doesn't disclose how many participate in the local survey.
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