CITY SKYLINE
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A double exposure of the city of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak May 17, 2009. Mark Reis, The Gazette

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The Colorado Springs job market will strengthen in the second quarter but won't be as robust as a year ago, according to a survey from staffing giant ManpowerGroup.

The employment outlook, calculated by subtracting the percentage of employers planning staff cuts from the percentage anticipating expansion, is expected to be 26 percent in the April-to-June quarter, up from 15 percent in the current quarter, but slightly behind the 28 percent forecast in the second quarter of 2017. Two percent of the local employers surveyed expect cutbacks in the coming quarter, while none expected staff reductions a year earlier.

"You know times are good when you hear 'not quite as good as a year ago' and the percentage of hiring is still 26 percent. That is consistent with other employment data and reflects a strong job market, just not quite as strong as a year ago," said Tatiana Bailey, director of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum. "It is not unusual for trends to start leveling off after the base gets larger."

The survey found abundant job prospects in almost every sector, including manufacturing, retailing, services and government. Construction was the only industry expecting reductions, while finance, transportation and utilities expect no change in staffing levels.

The Colorado Springs unemployment rate rose four consecutive months to 3.6 percent in December, the highest since October, and job growth slowed throughout last year.

The local outlook ranked 14th among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, tied with five other cities. San Antonio and Provo, Utah, had the nation's top job markets with an outlook of 32 percent, while Hartford, Conn., had the weakest outlook among the top 100 metro areas at 8 percent.

Other details from the report:

- The statewide and Denver area outlooks were both slightly better than the Springs at 27 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Colorado ranked among the top five states, while Denver tied for seventh best among the top 100 metro areas with Atlanta, Milwaukee and Fresno, Calif.

- The local outlook was stronger than the national average of 20 percent, or 18 percent after seasonal adjustments. The national outlook is somewhat improved from 19 percent a year earlier, or 17 percent after seasonal adjustments. All 13 industry sectors monitored by Manpower had outlooks of 11 percent or more.

- The national survey includes 11,500 employers; the company doesn't disclose how many participate in the local survey.

Business Writer

Business Writer

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