Un­em­ploy­ment up, but so is fu­ture out­look

The Covington News - - Front page - GABRIEL KHOULI Staff Re­porter

While New­ton County’s un­em­ploy­ment rate in­creased in Jan­uary for a sec­ond straight month, hir­ing is ex­pected to pick up in the At­lanta re­gion as 20 per­cent of re­gional com­pa­nies say they plan to hire more work­ers dur­ing the next three months.

“Un­em­ploy­ment will re­main high, but em­ploy­ers are hir­ing,” said Robyn Chap­man with the lo­cal of­fice of Man­pow­ergroup, a global staffing firm.

“They are tak­ing their time, though, and mak­ing sure the fit is right on all hir­ing lev­els be­fore tak­ing the leap to hire.”

The cau­tiously op­ti­mistic out­look comes from Man­power’s Em­ploy­ment Out­look Sur­vey, which rep­re­sents the ex­pec­ta­tions of more than 18,000 em­ploy­ers in the U.S. and more than 65,000 em­ploy­ers in 41 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries.

The sur­vey’s re­sults are the most pos­i­tive yet in a string of im-

prov­ing hir­ing for­tunes, as 20 per­cent of com­pa­nies ex­pect to in­crease staff lev­els, while only 5 per­cent plan to de­crease staff lev­els.

The rest of com­pa­nies plan to ei­ther main­tain staff lev­els, 69 per­cent, or don’t yet know, 6 per­cent.

New­ton County’s un­em­ploy­ment rate has con­tin­u­ally lagged be­hind the At­lanta re­gion and the state, and the county’s un­em­ploy­ment rate in­creased by 0.3 per­cent in Jan­uary to 11.2 per­cent, as the num­ber of em­ployed work­ers de­creased by 170.

How­ever, the un­em­ploy­ment rate was still nearly a full per­cent­age point lower than a year ago.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate for the At­lanta re­gion also in­creased slightly to 9.2 per­cent, as the re­gion lost nearly 9,700 work­ers, while the state gained 13,000 work­ers and saw its un­em­ploy­ment fall from 9.4 to 9.2 per­cent.

The state con­tin­ued to lag be­hind the U.S. un­em­ploy­ment rate which also dropped by 0.2 per­cent to 8.3 per­cent in Jan­uary.

Ev­ery sec­tor de­clined in em­ploy­ment ex­cept for man­u­fac­tur­ing and the other ser­vices cat­e­gory, which in­cludes re­pair and main­te­nance, per­sonal and laun­dry ser­vices and re­li­gions, civic and pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tions. Trade, trans­porta­tion and util­i­ties saw the largest drop, with leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity and gov­ern­ment also los­ing work­ers.

On the other hand, Man­power’s sur­vey ex­pected job in­creases in ev­ery sec­tor ex­cept for con­struc­tion, which was ex­pected to see a re­duc­tion in jobs, and gov­ern­ment, which was ex­pected to re­main un­changed.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing has been one of New­ton’s bright spots dur­ing the down­turn, and Chap­man said she ex­pected man­u­fac­tur­ing hir­ing to con­tinue to in­crease in the re­gion east of At­lanta.

As far as the U.S. in gen­eral, 18 per­cent of com­pa­nies ex­pected to in­crease hir­ing, while 6 per­cent ex­pected to re­duce staffing lev­els. Na­tion­ally, leisure and hos­pi­tal­ity was ex­pected to in­crease 26 per­cent, pro­fes­sional and busi­ness ser­vices 17 per­cent and durable goods man­u­fac­tur­ing 15 per­cent.

Man­pow­ergroup CEO Jeff Jo­er­res said in an over­view that the U.S. had 10 con­sec­u­tive quar­ters of pos­i­tive hir­ing in­for­ma­tion for the first time since 2008.

How­ever, com­pa­nies are ex­pected to watch global is­sues and may not hire at faster rates un­til China’s growth stops drop­ping and the Euro Zone sorts it­self out, Jo­er­res said. He said com­pa­nies are more con­cerned with pre­ma­turely over-hir­ing than they are con­cerned about miss­ing out on op­por­tu­ni­ties.

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