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Employers remain cautious about hiring

Posted By Barry Ritholtz On September 13, 2005 @ 8:55 am In Economy | Comments Disabled

The Manpower Hiring Survey is interesting to me — not because of the blah blah blah it contains — but due to the uncorrelated (this is fascinating) expectations of executives:    

"U.S. employers’ hiring plans for the fourth quarter remain cautious, and unwaveringly consistent from the previous six quarters, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, conducted before Hurricane Katrina wreaked its havoc.

Twenty percent of firms said they plan to hire in the fourth quarter, about flat from the 21% who planned to hire in the third quarter this year, and the 20% who said they’d hire in the fourth quarter a year ago."

Despite regular surveys showing "robust hiring plans," we continue to see only modest (at best) actual hiring.

The mainstream media is finally catching on to this — note the difference between the upbeat press release [1] title and  the MarketWatch headline [2]. Even more revealing, do a Google news search [3]  on the phrase "Manpower Hiring Survey;" — you’ll see the broad disparity in the regional expectations for new jobs, demonstrating how "lumpy" the present recovery actually is.

Surprisingly, the usually reliable WSJ [4] blew it, getting the story totally wrong:

"The outlook for hiring remains strong for the fourth quarter, despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, according to Manpower Inc. (emphasis added)

To say "DESPITE THE DEVASTATION CAUSED BY KATRINA about a survey taken prior to Katrina hitting — well, that’s simply sloppy thinking.

Perhpas that temporal error was caused by Manpower’s CEO, opining about post-Katrina hiring:

Unemployment caused by the storm should be short-lived and confined
to the Gulf Coast, said Manpower Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Joerres. He
said the rebuilding of the area will require large amounts of laborers,
as construction companies and others move into the area."

This is a survey of execs about their hiring plans, taken before the hurricane hit. Manpower’s CEO expectations for the region is irrelelvant — I doubt Mr. Joerres has much expertise in post-disaster economic reconstruction, so his comments on this matter are of  little value.

Here’s the Manpower survey comment [1]:

Please note that fourth quarter survey data was collected prior to Hurricane Katrina.  Manpower is prepared to discuss how the hurricane has thus far changed the employment landscape in the areas where we do business and how we have responded to those changes in our job placement and recruitment efforts.

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Shows That Hiring Confidence Among U.S. Employers Will Continue for Remainder of 2005 [1]
Manpower Inc. Press Release
Tuesday September 13, 12:01 am ET

Employers cautious about hiring [5]
Firms’ hiring plans flat, but Katrina effect unknown
Andrea Coombes
MarketWatch, 12:01 AM ET Sept. 13, 2005 

Hiring Outlook Remains Strong, Manpower Says [4]
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, September 13, 2005; Page A14

Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog

URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2005/09/employers-remain-cautious-about-hiring/

URLs in this post:

[1] press release: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050913/cgtu002.html?.v=23

[2] MarketWatch headline: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B47B7E3DD-3FA1-4909-A5EE-A468722C4509%7D&siteid=google

[3] Google news search: http://news.google.com/news?q=Manpower+Hiring+Survey&num=50&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&client=safari&rls=en&sa=N&tab=nn&oi=newsr

[4] WSJ: http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB112657373652538861,00.html

[5] Employers cautious about hiring: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B47B7E3DD%2D3FA1%2D4909%2DA5EE%2DA468722C4509%7D&siteid=mktw&dist=

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