Jobs Survey Mixed Bag

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Overall, the results of the latest Manpower Employment Survey suggest that U.S. employers plan to increase hiring after the new year. Twenty-four percent of the 16,000 U.S. employers surveyed say they anticipate an increase in hiring activity for the first quarter. That is a huge increase over this same time last year.

"It looked like a lot of the companies we interviewed on the national level are going to have an increase in the 1st quarter of 2005," said Tonya Hancock of Manpower's Meridian office.

That may be good news for the nation as a whole, but on the local level, the survey tells a different story.

Only 10 percent of employers in the Meridian area plan to hire more employees during the first quarter of '05, whereas 23 percent surveyed plan to cut back on their payrolls.

"This survey was conducted in October before the election and I think a lot of people were uncertain of where the country was going to go at that point," Hancock said. "With the uncertainty there, (it) may be people were more conservative."

This year's survey is in stark contrast to last year when 27 percent of Meridian employers planned to increase staff, while 17 percent had planned cutbacks. This year, only 10 percent of Meridian employers plan to hire more staff, making Meridian's employment outlook one of the worst in the nation.