Archive for Wednesday, May 27, 1998


May 27, 1998


Several sectors will be strong candidates for hiring in Lawrence this summer, a new survey showed.

In Lawrence and across the nation, businesses are expected to continue high levels of hiring this summer, according to a new survey by temporary staffing firm Manpower Inc.

Midwestern companies are expected to lead the nation in hiring.

Milwaukee-based Manpower's quarterly employment survey found 43 percent of Lawrence firms planned to increase their work force this summer, and none intended payroll reductions. Fifty-four percent plan no changes. A year ago, 40 percent forecast increased employment. Three months ago, only 30 percent planned more hiring.

Statewide, 42 percent planned increases and only 4 percent intended job cuts. Fifty-two percent plan no changes.

Nationwide, the survey showed that 32 percent intend to increase their work force while only 5 percent plan staff reductions. Fifty-nine percent expect to maintain their current staffing levels. In comparison, 30 percent of firms surveyed a year ago anticipated summertime increases and 5 percent planned decreases.

Manpower's survey, a highly regarded indicator of economic growth, comes at a time when unemployment is at 3.3 percent in Kansas and 4.3 percent nationwide. With so few people out of work and looking for jobs, companies are resorting to creative techniques to attract and retain qualified workers.

At the same time, the survey results provide little support for forecasters and policy-makers who are predicting that economic growth will slow in coming months. In the first three months of 1998, the nation's economy grew at a 4.2 percent rate adjusted for inflation, but some analysts have recently suggested that will drop to 2 percent or 3 percent.

Manpower's study asked employers about their intentions to hire workers during July, August and September -- but in today's tight labor market it's less clear than usual that those plans will be met.

Manpower chief executive Mitchell S. Fromstein said the latest data do not represent a dramatic change from the trends of the past year. Instead, it shows a ``clear continuation of significant job growth across the nation,'' he said.

``We're seeing the strongest indication of net hiring strength since the third quarter of 1978, when 34 percent of firms intended to hire and 6 percent planned decreases,'' Fromstein said. ``There are still more jobs to fill than qualified people to fill them.''

In Lawrence, job opportunities are seen in construction, durable goods and non-durable goods manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, education and services, said Nancy Slabaugh of Manpower in Lawrence.

``As the leading region in the nation,'' the survey found, ``the Midwest remains unchallenged.''

Construction, though slowed somewhat from a year ago, still is the region's summer job leader. But the Midwest's wholesale and retail trades expect more hiring than at any time in the 22-year history of the survey. And expectations in the finance, insurance and real estate sector have not been more positive in 19 years.

Nationally, the survey found that the retail and service industries, in particular, are searching for workers.

The retail industry, perhaps more than any other, is having trouble finding enough workers. Some retailers have responded by increasing wages, only to find that such a lure alone doesn't get results. They've had to advertise more, have job fairs, shorten shifts and look to non-traditional labor pools such as senior citizens.

-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is

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