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  • Workers with Miller Pipeline install a gas line along West Hamilton Road on Monday. A Manpower survey released today shows Indiana leads the nation in the percentage of employers looking to add workers. (Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 1:00 am

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Strong jobs outlook for Indiana

34% of employers in state looking to boost staff: Survey

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

At a glance

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey lists the large cities with the strongest and weakest hiring outlooks for the third quarter:


• Indianapolis

• Raleigh, N.C.

• Milwaukee

• Grand Rapids, Mich.


• Austin, Texas

• Little Rock, Ark.

• New Haven, Conn.

• Cape Coral, Fla.

Hiring is heating up in the Hoosier State.

Indiana leads the nation in the percentage of employers who expect to add jobs in July, August and September, according to ManpowerGroup survey results being released today.

And of the 100 largest U.S. cities, Indianapolis tops the list with the highest net hiring outlook – 35 percent. That's more than 50 percent higher than the national average outlook of 21 percent.

The Hoosier State's net employment outlook is 34 percent. Net employment is determined by subtracting the percentage of employers who expect to reduce staff from those who plan to increase it.  

Manpower's third-quarter hiring outlook found that 34 percent of Indiana respondents expected to increase staff; zero percent planned to decrease; and 65 percent expected to maintain current workforce levels.

Although adding jobs is evidence of a strong economy, the news isn't all positive. Robust demand for workers is butting up against a state unemployment rate that was below 3 percent in April.

The resulting worker shortage is pushing some employers to explore new options during recruiting.

Steve Stokes, Manpower's northeast Indiana area manager, said the local employment office is seeing more employers who are willing to invest in training.

“Developing the workforce is the way to go,” he said Monday.

Manpower's national survey found employers in every industry sector planning to hire, with leisure and hospitality; construction; and transportation and utilities reporting the strongest demand.

The net employment outlook for every one of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas is 10 percent or greater. 

Brooks Construction Co. is among the local employers broadening their options in recruiting workers. The firm does paving projects ranging from interstate highway resurfacing to residential asphalt driveways.

Among the jobs sites where Brooks Construction workers can be found are State Boulevard, North Anthony Boulevard and Interstate 469.

Margi Brooks, manager of strategic information and technology, said Brooks' recruiters have been even more proactive this year, going to job fairs and schools in rural counties beyond Allen County.

“Over the last few years, we've struggled to find enough workers,” she said, adding that the company's competitors and sub-contractors face the same problems.

Brooks Construction is one of the companies working with Ivy Tech Community College Northeast on a heavy highway construction curriculum, which will be launched this fall.

The yearlong, five-course curriculum will be offered in the evenings, Brooks said. The focus will be on asphalt, concrete, dirt, bridge and pipe work.

The classes will be appropriate for workers new to the trade and those who are eager to advance in their heavy highway construction careers, she said.

“We're optimistic that this will lead to more people in the industry overall,” she said.

Of the more than 11,500 U.S. employers who participated in the national Manpower survey, 24 percent expect to hire; 3 percent plan to reduce staff; 71 percent expect to maintain current workforce levels; and 2 percent don't know. 

That combines for a net employment outlook of 21 percent.