21% of US employers plan to increase workforce in Q1 2005

In the latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey 21% of employers plan to hire in Q1 2005, up from 20% in Q4 2004 and up from 14% a year ago. Over the three months ending Nov. 30, job growth has averaged 178,000 jobs per month. Employment is up 2.3 million jobs since August 2003. The unemployment rate in November was 5.4%.

24% of employers in the finance, real estate and insurance sector plan to hire, up from 19% in Q4 2004 and 15% in Q1 2004, according to Manpower. Government agencies were more optimistic: 13% plan to hire versus 8% in the previous quarter and 3% in Q1 2004. But in education, 10% of employers plan to hire in Q1 2005, down from 12% in the previous quarter. That’s up from 5% in Q1 2004. Construction firms are also optimistic, with 24% planning to hire, up from 19% in the previous quarter and up from 21% in Q1 2004.