Manpower sees steady fourth-quarter Canadian employment growth

TORONTO, Sept 10 Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:01am EDT

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TORONTO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Canadian companies expect to hire in the fourth quarter at roughly the same pace as in the third, according to data released on Tuesday that also showed the construction sector to be a pocket of strength.

The nationwide survey by ManpowerGroup Inc measures the difference between employers that say they will add jobs and those that are planning cuts.

The survey of about 1,900 employers found that 16 percent planned to add jobs, while 8 percent expected cuts. About three-quarters of those surveyed projected unchanged staffing levels.

Gains in the construction sector are expected to offset weakness in the transportation and public utilities industries.

After seasonally adjusting the numbers, Manpower said a net 10 percent of companies planned to hire in the fourth quarter, little changed from the previous quarter.

"We've maintained a very steady hiring pace," said Byrne Luft, vice president of operations for Manpower Canada. "There's just not a lot of excitement going on in Canada in the employment sector as far as growth."

"We continue to be in a volatile employment market," he added.

The data followed a government release on Friday showing Canada's economy generated 59,200 jobs in August, nearly triple the number expected, but most of the gains were in part-time work and the 6-month trend in the labor market remains modest.

Luft said the trend of part-time jobs was picking up steam and was a function of the world we live in.

"The part-time jobs is what concerns most experts because in order to create that sustainable economy and more stability, full-time jobs are preferred," he said. "But the reality is that there are a lot of people working part-time jobs, multiple part-time jobs, in order to make ends meet."

The highlight of the quarter, as indicated by the survey, was optimism in the construction sector, where a net 21 percent of employers anticipated a strong hiring climate in the fourth quarter.

"I see construction gaining momentum," Luft said, noting that the industry was benefiting from infrastructure growth, government investments, real estate expansion in some regions, and mining and energy projects.

Data released on Monday showed a much stronger-than-expected jump in the value of building permits in July, mainly because of a sudden jump in plans for commercial buildings.

The hiring environment is expected to be most bullish in Western and Atlantic Canada, with a net 16 percent of employers in those regions expecting to hire. The conditions will be a little less favorable in Ontario and Quebec, the survey found.

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