U.S. Employer Confidence Remains Positive as 22% Plan to Increase Staff in Q2 2017

U.S. employers expect the hiring pace to remain positive in the second quarter (Q2) of 2017 with 22% of employers planning to add staff between April and June. According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, employers in all U.S. regions and industry sectors expect headcount to grow in Q2, with the upbeat forecast indicating that political uncertainty has not yet dented employer confidence.

Of the 11,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 73% expect no change in hiring plans and only 3% of employers expect workforce reductions. The Net Employment Outlook* for Q2 2017 is +17%, relatively stable compared to the previous quarter and 1 year ago, taking into account seasonal variations.

Nationwide, employers in all 13 industry sectors expect to add staff in Q2 2017. Industries reporting the strongest second quarter hiring intentions are: leisure and hospitality (+28%); wholesale and retail trade (+21%); transportation and utilities (+20%); and professional and business services (+19%).

“U.S. employers have a positive Outlook for the coming quarter as the country waits to understand how the new administration’s policies will come into effect. We are also seeing an emerging positive Outlook from manufacturing employers who are reporting some of their strongest hiring plans since the end of the recession,” said Michael Stull, Senior Vice President, Manpower North America, said in a press release.

“The sector is showing signs of entering a renaissance period, transforming itself to be higher tech and data driven, stepping up to the increased global competitiveness. We’re seeing traditional manufacturing hubs go from rust-belt to brain-belt through targeted investments in tailored training programs … To keep up, the pace needs to be faster and will require more employers to go all in to build the skills. But we’re encouraged to see the green shoots emerge in manufacturing and overall hiring,” added Stull.

 U.S. Hiring Plans by Regions, Industry Sectors, and Metro Areas/States

All regions in the U.S. are optimistic about their hiring plans in Q2 2017.

  • Quarter over quarter, U.S. employers in the Midwest, South, and West expect hiring to remain relatively stable, while employers in the Northeast expect a slight decrease in hiring.
  • Compared to Q2 2016, employers in the West report a slightly stronger Outlook, while employers in the Northeast, Midwest, and South anticipate a relatively stable hiring pace.
  • For the coming quarter, employers in Montana, Colorado, Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, and Michigan report the strongest Net Employment Outlooks.
  • Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects are expected in Nashville, TN; Provo, UT; Colorado Springs, CO; Fresno, CA; and Raleigh, NC.

The infographic below highlights more key findings from this survey. Complete results for the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at


*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.