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2020 Job Outlook: U.S. Hiring Intentions Remain Steady

Dec. 18, 2019
The construction industry is one of the top four industries with the strongest job outlook, according to a recent survey by the Manpower Group.

U.S. employers expect the hiring pace to remain steady in Q1 2020 though regional and industry forecasts are mixed, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The survey of more than 11,500 employers show softening in 10 of 13 industries and in two regions of the U.S., while employers in the South and the Midwest expect to hire at the strongest pace in 13 (+22%) and 19 (+21%) years, respectively.

Employers in all 13 industries report double-digit hiring intentions with the most optimistic Outlook in Leisure & Hospitality (+30%) – the highest in three years – as consumers dine out and keep spending. Professional & Business Services are also optimistic with a +22% Outlook driven by demand for digital skills. Prospects look healthy for jobseekers in Wholesale & Retail Trade (+22%), though the Outlook declined by two percentage points year-over year as brick and mortar retail adapt to increased demand for online offerings. The Durable Goods Manufacturing Outlook (+17%) declined by one percentage point for the second consecutive quarter as employers remain cautiously optimistic in an uncertain global environment.

"Continued concerns over trade uncertainty are leading to some uneven market conditions in the U.S., yet the overall labor market looks resilient heading into the new year," said Becky Frankiewicz, president of ManpowerGroup North America. "With 7 million jobs open for 11 straight months and ongoing positive hiring intentions across all industries, employers need to work harder to match people to the right roles. Companies that want to hire and retain the best talent, should hire for learnability and help people develop new skills for emerging roles. Our economic prosperity depends on helping people adapt their skills so companies can compete in a talent-scarce, economy."

View the complete Q1 2020 U.S. survey results: ManpowerGroup.US/MEOS

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

  • Employers in all 13 U.S. industry sectors expect to add workers during the upcoming quarter: Leisure & Hospitality (+30%), Construction (+22%), Professional & Business Services (+22%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+22%), Transportation & Utilities (+19%), Government (+18%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+17%), Education & Health Services (+16%), Financial Activities (+14%), Other Services (+14%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+13%), Mining (+13%), Information (+12%).
  • In the South, employers anticipate the strongest regional hiring pace, up four percentage points quarter over quarter and the highest in 13 years (+22%). The Outlook in the Midwest (+21%) is at a 19-year high. Year-over-year hiring intentions weaken in the West and Northeast yet remain flat compared to last quarter. In the West, the Outlook (+19%) declines by 1 percentage point compared to a year ago, while employers in the Northeast (+18%) report a decrease of 2 percentage points.
  • Employers in Arkansas (+28%), Maryland (+27%), New Hampshire (+25%), and South Carolina (+24%) report the strongest Outlooks nationwide. Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job gains are expected in Chattanooga, Tenn., (+34%), Columbus, Ohio, (+33%), Cape Coral, Fla. (+31%) and Deltona, Fla. (+31%).

Complete results for the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at ManpowerGroup.US/MEOS. The Q2 2020 survey will be released March 10, 2019.

*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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