Today's economy

Canadian employers are “in a state of flux”

By Kevin Press,

Comments (4)

Image of a businessperson having a discussion about why she can't hire new resources.Canadian employers are fighting to make their organizations more efficient in an uncertain economy, and so there’s little hope that hiring will ramp up significantly in the near term. That’s what we learned yesterday from the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

“There’s not a lot of growth,” said Byrne Luft, vice president of operations, staffing services at Manpower Canada. “What you’re seeing now is an efficiency drive in many organizations … They’re not making any major investments, certainly not on the employment side.”

Luft and I spoke yesterday about the study, which asked 1,900 Canadian employers about their hiring expectations during the fourth quarter of this year. Sixteen per cent plan to increase their headcount, 7% expect to trim staff, 75% anticipate no change and 2% aren’t sure what lies ahead.

That translates into a seasonally adjusted Net Employment Outlook of 10%. It was 12% in Q3, 13% in Q2 and 14% in Q1. “We’re not seeing any major swings in our forecast,” Luft told me.

Graph of Manpower employment outlook survey

In fact, the turnaround in sentiment that began three years ago after the worst of the financial crisis stalled in mid-2011. The outlook for hiring has softened since. “We’re in a state of flux,” Luft said. “We don’t know where the economy is heading.”

The Net Employment Outlook among Western Canadian employers is 17%. That’s the best in the country. Atlantic Canada scored 11%, Quebec 7% and Ontario 5%.

The results by industry sector add more colour. Mining leads with a Net Employment Outlook of 16%. That’s followed by transportation and public utilities (13%), education (12%), construction (11%), wholesale and retail trade (11%), manufacturing – durables (9%), services (8%), finance, insurance and real estate (7%), manufacturing – non-durables (1%) and public administration (-1%).

These regional and sector numbers are not seasonally adjusted.

The Canadian study is part of a global research effort by ManpowerGroup. Respondents from almost 66,000 employers in 42 countries reported their plans. Positive Net Employment Outlook results were recorded in 31 of those countries.

The best scores came from Taiwan (32%), India (27%), Panama (26%, not seasonally adjusted) and Brazil (24%, not seasonally adjusted). Studies in Greece (-15%) and Italy (-9%) produced the lowest scores. The U.S. scored 11%.

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kevinpress on

Thanks David. What I’m hearing is that the Canadian economy could be in for a soft patch. No guarantees of course, but there’s reason to be cautious about spending, career changes, etc. right now. I’ve also been told that the U.S. recovery is in the early stages of picking up steam. That would certainly be welcome news.

David on

This is a good article Kevin. I think it does address the fact that the economy is not doing as well as some analysts think. Although the Canadian economy has seemed to do well compared the the United States (especially since the economic crash of 2008), there are concerns that growth has begun to slow here. It is a concern, especially when Canada’s economy does rely heavily on the American economy.

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