A few more employers in the Triangle expect to resume modest hiring in the early months of 2010, according to a quarterly Manpower survey released today.
From January to March, 13 percent of the Raleigh-Cary companies interviewed by the staffing firm plan to hire more employees, while 9 percent expect to reduce their payrolls. That's a slight improvement from the previous quarter and a year earlier.
The figures mirror what Manpower found nationally, with about 12 percent of 28,000 employers expecting to increase their staffing levels during the first quarter, and 12 percent planning to cut more jobs.
A big problem is that there have been so many jobs lost and so many people looking for work, it will take years to get back to full employment, said Jonas Prising, president of Manpower in North America. Very few employers are rushing to hire until there are further signs the recovery will stick.
"The numbers are staggering," said Prising, who visited reporters and editors with The News & Observer on Tuesday. "It's going to take a long time to get back to where we were."
There were about 6.3 unemployed people, on average, for each job opening in October, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. That's up from 6.1 percent in September and 1.7 in December 2007, when the recession began. The number of jobless people rose to 15.7 million in October, up from 15 million.
Still, for the first time in six or seven months, Manpower is seeing some stabilization in the labor market, Prising said.
That includes a slight uptick in demand from Triangle employers seeking temporary help, said Jeff Stocks, president of Manpower's Raleigh office. Information technology and biotech are sectors where momentum is building, he said. That's a good sign at the end of 2009, "one of the slowest years we've seen in quite some time."
Temp hiring is one indicator that economists believe foreshadows a broader economic recovery. Employers uncertain about the future often tap temp workers first, and add permanent positions as the outlook becomes clearer.
Mid-sized and smaller clients, in particular, are slowly adding temp and permanent staff, said Michael Doyle, who oversees Manpower offices in nine southeastern states.
In its survey of Durham employers, Manpower found that 12 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 11 percent expect to reduce their payrolls.
The Triangle jobless rate remained flat at 8.9 percent in October after adjusting for seasonal effects. That's better than the state and national averages.