* Q4 hiring outlook down in 21 of 39 economies
* U.S. outlook dips; employers 'on the sidelines'
* U.S., European problems affect emerging markets
* European debt crisis hurts employer confidence
By Nick Zieminski
NEW YORK, Sept 13 Prospects for job seekers are
gloomier in most major economies than they were three months
ago, as weak U.S. and European economies begin to affect
employers' confidence in other parts of the world, according to
a quarterly hiring survey by ManpowerGroup (MAN.N).
Manpower Chief Executive Jeff Joerres describes the global
jobs climate as tenuous, comparing it to a ball atop a hill:
given a slight nudge, it could roll either forward or back.
"A collection of little things on the margin can move the
ball," Joerres said.
The global staffing services company said the
fourth-quarter hiring outlook is lower in 21 of 39 countries
and territories, including the United States. Prospects are
stronger in 13 economies and unchanged in five others versus
When compared with the fourth quarter of last year, the job
outlook is stronger in most countries and territories, the
United States among them. The U.S. index, however, declined
sequentially for the first time in nine quarters, suggesting
the unemployment rate is likely to go higher.
The U.S. net employment outlook -- which measures the
difference between employers who say they expect to add jobs
and those planning to cut them -- was down one point from three
months ago. Of the 13 U.S. industry sectors Manpower tracks,
only one -- education and health services -- showed stronger
"Companies remain on the sidelines when it comes to
hiring," Joerres said. "Until there's more visibility (about)
demand improvement, we're going to see companies completely
resistant to adding workers for the fear that they'll have to
reduce that same cost."
U.S. President Barack Obama's plan to stimulate jobs growth
can help sentiment but will probably not boost hiring in the
near term, Joerres said. Lower payroll costs will not induce a
company to hire but could help those employers that were going
to add workers anyway: instead of taking on nine workers, a
manager might offer jobs to 10.
Obama has proposed a $447 billion jobs plan, involving tax
cuts and public works spending, that he hopes will help rescue
a faltering U.S. economy. [ID:nN1E7880DX]
"Much of what was proposed makes sense," Joerres said.
"Other things are to try to look like we're doing things and
probably don't have a lot of efficacy."
Manpower's U.S. survey dates back to 1962 and is based on
interviews with 18,000 employers. It is considered a leading
indicator of labor market trends.
The survey results follow a disappointing U.S. jobs report
that showed zero new jobs were created in August and the
unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent. [ID:nOAT004865]
INDIA, CHINA FEEL U.S. SLOWDOWN
Manpower's global survey, which polled more than 65,000
employers, found evidence slow U.S. growth was affecting job
creation elsewhere. India's hiring outlook fell steeply from
the third quarter, partly because its information technology
industry relies on U.S. sales.
Employers in China are also expecting less robust hiring in
the next three months.
"Even the emerging economies, with their growing middle
classes, still can't avoid the effect of the U.S. slowdown,"
Joerres said. "China has a great middle class demographic but
they still rely a lot on export goods to the U.S."
Rising labor costs have also made Chinese companies,
especially small businesses, more reluctant to add workers, the
survey found. Europe's austerity programs are also hurting
demand for goods produced in emerging markets, Manpower said.
The weakest hiring outlooks are in Mediterranean countries
hit by an ongoing debt crisis, including Greece, Italy and
Spain. These countries' problems are affecting confidence in
northern Europe, including the Netherlands. Central European
economies such as Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic showed
mostly lower readings.
In Asia-Pacific, spending on reconstruction after a
destructive March earthquake lifted Japanese employers'
optimism to its highest reading in three years. Sentiment in
Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore was little changed and dipped
In the Americas, employers in Canada and Mexico are less
optimistic than three months ago, but the outlook brightened in
Colombia and Brazil.
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)