The outlook for the Colorado Springs job market for the third quarter is the best in nearly five years and among the best in the nation, according to a quarterly employment survey by temporary staffing giant Manpower.
The percentage of local employers planning to add staff in the July-to-September quarter exceeds those planning employment reductions by 22 percentage points: 29 percent plan additional hiring and 7 percent plan to cut personnel. That is slightly more upbeat than a year ago, making it the most optimistic forecast since the final quarter of 2008, a survey taken just before the financial crisis hit.
Colorado Springs ranked ninth for its hiring outlook among 100 metropolitan areas surveyed by Manpower. Other cities tied ninth were Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Louisville, Ky., and Oklahoma City. Des Moine, Iowa, was No. 1.
The upbeat outlook comes as the area's unemployment rate declined to 8.2 percent in April from 9.4 percent a year earlier and local payrolls grew by 1.6 percent during the same period. The unemployment rate comes from a survey of households, while the payroll data comes from a survey of employers; both are calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Manpower survey found good job prospects in all industries except education and health care, where employers said they expected cuts, and financial services, were no changes in staffing levels are anticipated.
The local job outlook for the coming quarter is stronger than the current quarter, where 23 percent of employers planned to expand staff and 7 percent anticipated cutbacks. A year ago, 28 percent of employers expected additional hiring, while 7 percent expected staff reductions.
The Manpower survey has proven reliable in reflecting the general direction of the local job market, but quarterly results are volatile, partly because of seasonal patterns in the local economy, said Fred Crowley, senior economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum.
The local outlook is more optimistic than the Denver area or the rest of the state. In Denver, 23 percent of employers plan to hire more staff, while 5 percent expect cuts. Statewide, 26 percent of employers anticipate additional hiring and 6 percent expect cutbacks. Nationwide, the percentage of employers planning to increase staff reached a four-year high of 22 percent, while 6 percent anticipate cutbacks.
After seasonal adjustments, the nation's overall employment outlook was up 1 percentage point from the previous quarter.
"The slow and steady improvements we've seen quarter over quarter have formed a launch pad for continued progress," said Jonas Prising, Manpower's president. "Many economic indicators pointed toward measured optimism during the first half of the year, and our third-quarter data show a rise in hiring intentions that demonstrates improved demand for products and services."
Milwaukee-based Manpower interviews more than 18,000 employers for its survey.
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