Q4 Hiring Outlook

Employers in the U.S report improved hiring plans for Q4 following the ten year low reported in Q3 according to the new ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of more than 8,700 U.S. employers conducted in July.

Key Highlights:

  • Employers report an employment outlook of +14%, recovering 11 percentage points from Q3 yet down 6 percentage points year-over-year.
  • Businesses now anticipate a slower hiring levels than initially expected. In April 60% expected hiring levels to return by January 2021, now down to just 25%, 11% expect hiring to return by July 2021, 5% expect longer and 21% remain uncertain.
  • The impact of the pandemic is transforming the way U.S employers plan to get work done for the long-term. 34% plan to offer remote work and flexible hours in the post-pandemic workplace with 8% planning to offer 100% remote work to employees.
  • 20% of businesses plan to offer more opportunities for employees to develop new skills as the crisis accelerates demand for increasingly specific skills.

The most positive outlooks for the three months ahead are reported in Leisure and Hospitality (+22%), Transportation and Utilities (+19%) and Wholesale and Retail Trade (+18%) as lockdowns lift, consumer spending is buoyed by employment benefits and people across the country leave their homes to begin to socialize and shop.  Employers in Manufacturing report an Outlook of +7%, a 7 percentage point improvement as supply-chain bottlenecks ease and workplaces open-up though still 10 below pre-pandemic levels.  

“Though we still have a long way to go to recover from what started as a health crisis and has evolved to a social and economic crisis, it is encouraging to see optimistic outlooks in some of the industries most heavily impacted including leisure, retail and manufacturing,” Said Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America. “We also see employers recognize this recovery will take longer than they initially thought and many are adapting work models for the long term. This is accelerating a shift closer to what we know workers have wanted for some time; autonomy to choose how and where they get their work done, more learning on demand, and a focus on achieving a better blend of work and home. Now is the time for employers to offer targeted skills development and more flexible future-focused work options for those working remote and in the workplace.”  

View the complete Q4 2020 U.S. survey results: ManpowerGroup.US/MEOS

RegionQ4 2020Quarter-over-Quarter

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

  • Employers in all 12 U.S. industry sectors expect to add workers during the upcoming quarter: Leisure & Hospitality (+22%), Transportation & Utilities (+19%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+18%), Education & Health Services (+15%), Professional & Business Services (+15%), Construction (+14%), Financial Activities (+9%) and Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+9%), Durable Goods Manufacturing (+8%), Information (+7%), Other Services (+6%) and Government (+4%).
  • Hiring prospects strengthen considerably in all four U.S. regions when compared with the previous quarter, with outlooks increasing by 11 percentage points in the Midwest, the Northeast, the South and the West. When the four regions are compared, the strongest hiring pace is anticipated in the Midwest, where the outlook is +16%. Northeast employers expect steady workforce gains, reporting an outlook of +15%, and positive hiring activity is anticipated in the South and the West, with outlooks standing at +14% and +13%, respectively.
  • Employers in Wyoming (+33%), Arkansas (+21%), Idaho (+30%), Mississippi (+20%), and Virginia (20%) report the strongest outlooks nationwide. Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job gains are expected in Rochester, N.Y. (29%), Springfield, M.A. (23%), Knoxville, T.N. (22%), Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. (21%), and Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, A.R. (21%)

Complete results for the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at ManpowerGroup.US/MEOS. The Q1 2021 survey will be released Dec. 8, 2021

*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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