Firms hiring as the economy improves

Tim Wallace
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UNEMPLOYMENT has stopped rising at last, as employers gain confidence and take on staff, according to a study out today.

After flatlining in the current quarter of 2011, Manpower’s employment outlook rose for the second quarter of 2012, with a net balance of two per cent of firms increasing their headcount.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also reported growth in hiring, with a net balance of 1.3 per cent looking to take on staff in the next three months.

However, the upturn is very limited – only nine per cent told Manpower they anticipate increasing staffing levels in the second quarter, while seven per cent will lower headcount and 82 per cent expect no change.

The outlook is strong in London, with a net balance of five per cent intending to hire, partly due to the Olympics, Manpower believes, as well as the East Midlands, with a balance of 12 per cent and the north west, at nine per cent.

However, a net balance of two per cent in the north east and six per cent in the east are planning on reducing headcount, the study found.

“Although it’s too early to say that a full-blown recovery is upon us, it does feel like we’re turning a corner when it comes to the jobs market,” said Manpower’s Mark Cahill.

“Businesses that were battening down the hatches in the last quarter appear to be considering taking on staff. We’ve noticed much more flexibility among employers, particularly in the market for permanent hiring.”