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Manpower report: Gloomy job market anticipated in area

Friday, December 16, 2005

Terre Haute area employers expect to hire at a very weak pace during the first quarter of 2006, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Among survey participants, the Terre Haute area employment outlook is one of the weakest in the nation.

From January to March, 7 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 20 percent expect to reduce their payrolls, according to Manpower spokesperson Lori Leo. Another 73 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels.

"The Terre Haute area employment outlook is considerably softer than the fourth quarter forecast when 37 percent of the companies interviewed predicted an increase in hiring activity, and none planned to decrease the hiring pace," said Leo. "A year ago at this time, employers revealed more positive hiring intentions when 3 percent of companies surveyed thought employment in-creases were likely and 7 percent intended to cut back."

In Brazil, a year ago, Great Dane Trailers announced a $5 million re-tooling project.

"This investment allows us to make significant improvements to our manufacturing processes and enhance the work enviroment for our employees," Plant Manager Bernie Buttram told The Brazil Times. "Our employees will see improved consistency, productivity and efficiency."

Great Dane Trailers is the largest employer in Clay County with more than 1,200 employees.

With strong backlogs of orders and good economic indicators for 2005, management predicted growth from the modernization to create more jobs in the future.

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in Durable Goods Manufacturing. Wholesale/Retail Trade employers plan to reduce staffing levels, while those in Services voice mixed hiring intentions. Hiring in Construction, Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation/Public Utilities, Finance/Insurance/ Real Estate, Education and Public Administration is expected to remain un-changed.

The national results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveal that U.S. employers plan to carry over their hiring sentiments into 2006. This rounds out two consecutive years of consistent job prospects.

Of the 16,000 employers that were surveyed, 23 percent anticipate an increase in hiring activity for the first quarter of 2006, while 10 percent expect to decrease staff levels. Sixty-one percent of employers surveyed foresee no change in hiring plans, while 6 percent are unsure of their staffing needs. The seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook for the first three months of the year is 20 percent, identical to the fourth quarter of 2005 and nearly the same as a year ago.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. It is the only forward-looking survey of its kind, unparalleled in size, scope, longevity and area of focus. The survey has been running for more than 40 years and is one of the most trusted surveys of employment activity in the world. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey in the U.S. is based on interviews with nearly 16,000 public and private employers in 470 markets across the country and is considered a highly respected economic indicator.

Reporter Ivy Herron contributed to this report.

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