Hiring Outlooks Continue to Improve For Q1, Though Pre-Pandemic Hiring Levels Will Take Longer to Return


Employers in the U.S. report steadily improving hiring plans for Q1 according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey of more than 6,700 employers. The survey reveals employers are shifting their HR priorities for the long-term as a result of the pandemic with employee health & wellbeing, manager coaching and upskilling front and center for HR leaders.

Key Highlights:

  • Employers in all 12 U.S. industry sectors forecast positive outlooks in Q1 2021, with hiring intentions strengthening in 11 sectors quarter-over-quarter. The strongest outlooks are reported by employers in the Leisure and Hospitality (+26%) and Transportation and Utilities (+22%).
  • Hiring intentions increase in all four U.S. regions, led by the Midwest with an Outlook of +20%.
  • Employers in Vermont (+56%), Montana (+38%) and Iowa, (+31%), report the strongest outlooks nationwide; weakest outlooks Nevada (+1%) and Kentucky (+2%).
  • The biggest quarter-over-quarter improvement is reported by Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+19%), increasing 10 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Employers in Leisure and Hospitality (+26%), Transportation and Utilities (+22%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (+20%) report the three strongest outlooks for the second consecutive quarter as employers re-hire furloughed workers and the rise in e-commerce continues through the holiday season. Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+19%) saw the greatest improvements, increasing 10 percentage points from the previous quarter. Education and Health Services (+14%) report the only decrease in hiring when compared to the previous quarter, down 1 percentage point.

“As the labor market navigates the impact of the pandemic, it’s encouraging to see hiring outlooks continue to move in a positive direction on the road to recovery.” Said Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America. “As Americans shop, socialize and work from multi-functional homes, operations and logistics roles to support e-commerce are in high demand and we are beginning to see green shoots in manufacturing too as supply chains reopen. Organizations are navigating for today while preparing their workforce for the New Next. We’re pleased to see so many U.S. employers prioritize putting the “human” back into HR, focusing on employee well-being and skills development while implementing flexible work models so people can blend work and home for the long term.”

Region Q1 2021 Quarter-over-Quarter
West 15% 2% -4%
Midwest 20% 4% -1%
South 17% 3% -5%
Northeast 16% 1% -2%

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 (+26%), Transportation & Utilities (+22%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+20%), Nondurable Goods Manufacturing (+19%), Professional & Business Services (+17%), Construction (+17%), Education & Health Services (+14%), Financial Activities (+14%) and Durable Goods Manufacturing (+14%), Government (+10%). Information (+9%), and Other Services (+9%).
  • Hiring intentions strengthen in all four U.S. regions when compared with the previous quarter. The strongest hiring pace is anticipated in the Midwest, Northeast employers expect steady hiring intentions, reporting an Outlook of +16%, and hiring activity is anticipated to improve in the South and the West, with outlooks of +17% and +15%, respectively.
  • Employers in Vermont (+56%), Montana (+38%), Iowa, (+31%), South Dakota (+29%), and Arkansas (+26%), report the strongest outlooks nationwide. Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest outlooks are expected in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL (+42%), Winston-Salem, NC (+34%), Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI (+34%), El Paso, TX (+34%) and Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA (+31%).

*The survey – conducted October 2020 – is the most comprehensive, forward-looking employment survey of its kind, used globally as a key economic indicator.

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.

ManpowerGroup® (NYSE: MAN), the leading global workforce solutions company, helps organizations transform in a fast-changing world of work by sourcing, assessing, developing and managing the talent that enables them to win. We develop innovative solutions for hundreds of thousands of organizations every year, providing them with skilled talent while finding meaningful, sustainable employment for millions of people across a wide range of industries and skills. Our expert family of brands – Manpower, Experis and Talent Solutions – creates substantial value for candidates and clients across more than 75 countries and territories and has done so for over 70 years. We are recognized consistently for our diversity – as a best place to work for Women, Inclusion, Equality and Disability and in 2020 ManpowerGroup was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the eleventh year – all confirming our position as the brand of choice for in-demand talent.

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