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‘Cliff’ may be holding back hiring

State models US trend: Manpower

Indiana will mirror the nation when it comes to job creation during the first quarter, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today.

From January to March, 16 percent of the Indiana companies surveyed intend to hire more employees, while 9 percent expect to cut their payrolls. The majority of companies – 70 percent – say they will maintain present levels. Five percent are unsure.

Local economist John Kessler said he is surprised by the percentage of firms expressing a need to hire during the first few months of 2013, given the uncertainty facing the nation as it relates to the fiscal cliff.

“They must be companies that aren’t (as cyclical) as others,” said Kessler, director of the Center for Economic Education at IPFW. “It depends on the industry.”

The fiscal cliff refers to the spending cuts and tax increases that will take place by January if government officials are unable to reach a budget deal.

The best job prospects for Hoosiers include manufacturing; transportation and utilities; wholesale and retail trade; information and financial activities; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality, the survey report said.

Employers in construction and government plan to reduce staffing levels.

The first quarter 2012 outlook in the state was nearly identical with 70 percent of the companies saying they would hold the line on hiring, 16 percent of the respondents anticipating more jobs, 8 percent expecting to reduce staff and 6 percent of them uncertain.

Manpower is a research and employment services firm. It polls 282 Indiana companies about their intentions. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.61 percent.

Nationally, 18,000 employers were surveyed about the first quarter of next year. Seventeen percent of them expect to hire more workers, 8 percent see cuts coming, and 72 percent expect no change. Three percent are undecided.

The fiscal cliff fervor may be affecting this year’s poll, however. Manpower spokesman Pat Hevrdejs notes that the net employment outlook in Indiana for the first quarter of 2013 is down a percentage point from last year – to 7 percent.

Anxiety over the fiscal cliff is normal, Kessler said.

“The devil’s in the details,” he said. “I think everybody believes some type of deal will get done. It’s just what type of deal; what is actually going to be done, and nobody knows that right now.”