Walloon employers are more confident

  • The Manpower survey remains in the negative, but is improving
  • The trend: wait-and-see

    The quarterly Manpower economic survey is an international study that measures employers’ recruitment plans for the upcoming quarter. ManpowerGroup has just released its results for the third quarter of 2013. A wait-and-see attitude predominates in Belgium. 86% of the 750 employers surveyed wanted to maintain their staffing levels in the third quarter while they wait for better days.

     

    Among the other 14%, other than those who did not want to express an opinion, barely 4% plan to create new jobs while 5% plan to reduce staff, resulting in a 1% drop in the index – the difference between those two percentages.

     

    Even if the index is negative, there is still reason to celebrate. This is the first time in more than two years that the curve has begun to turn upwards. It’s an encouraging sign, but it’s too early to break out the champagne. The index is still negative. In other words, there are slightly more employers who plan layoffs than those who plan to add to their workforce. If the index is to be trusted, the unemployment rate will not go down in the coming months but will stabilize.

     

    It’s also interesting to look at the survey’s secondary results. First, consider the confidence index for recruitment by region. Beyond the fact that it is higher everywhere than in the previous quarter, it is now positive in Wallonia, at +3% while the Flemish region and Brussels-Capital are still negative at -2%.

     

    ManpowerGroup also provided details by various industries. Planned employment is positive in six of the ten industries surveyed, even if the planned recruitment is (very) limited.

     

    For the second consecutive quarter the construction industry shows the most favorable recruitment plans (+4%). Next come wholesalers, retailers, transportation and logistics at +3%. At the bottom of the list are businesses in the hospitality industry which are pessimistic with a -7% index – the weakest level for this sector since the creation of the index.

     

    Finally, the survey includes an international comparison, based on more than 65,000 public and private employers surveyed across 42 countries. Belgium, with its -1% level, falls at average within Europe. This average is quite weak compared to the rest of the world, weighed down by -13% in Italy and -7% in Spain.

     

    The worldwide levels are led by emerging economies, including India (+41%) and Taiwan (+35%). Japan, China and the United States are optimistic, with positive indices between 10% and 15%.

     

    XAVIER COUNASSE

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