Employers' fourth-quarter hiring outlook softens: Survey

Weakest net employment outlook since 2010

TORONTO (Reuters) — Canadian companies expect to hire new employees in the fourth quarter at the weakest quarterly pace since 2010, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

The ManpowerGroup report, which measures the difference between employers that say they will hire employees and those that expect to cut jobs, said the net employment outlook for the fourth quarter, adjusted for seasonal variations, was eight per cent.

That is down two percentage points from the forecast for the third quarter, and down three percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2013.

"The hiring climate is expected to be more modest in the fourth quarter, with the weakest net employment outlook we've seen since the second quarter of 2010," Byrne Luft, vice-president of operations for Manpower Canada, said in a statement.

"Although the political environments in Quebec and Ontario have stabilized after their provincial elections, it has not yet translated to an uptick in the general mood."

Western Canadian employers were the most upbeat about hiring, and expectations were progressively more modest heading eastward across the country.

The survey follows data last week that showed the Canadian economy unexpectedly lost 11,000 jobs in August compared with July, with the number of private-sector employees falling sharply, the latest sign that the economy is struggling.

Manpower, one of the world's largest staffing companies, found in its survey of more than 1,900 employers across Canada that 12 per cent planned to increase staffing levels during the final quarter of the year, while seven per cent planned to make cuts, and the vast majority, 79 per cent, were not planning any changes.

By sector, public administration, at 16 per cent, had the most favourable net employment outlook. That is down by one percentage point from the third quarter, but a 10 percentage point jump from a year earlier.

Transportation and public utilities followed with 13 per cent, and the finance insurance and real estate sector, which also had the most favourable quarter-over-quarter change, was 12 per cent.

Non-durables manufacturing had the softest outlook at just one per cent, while the construction, and wholesale and retail trade sectors both came in at five per cent.

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