Job Growth Outlook Best Since 2008

Employment outlook is good for the first quarter, according to human resources firm ManPowerGroup (NYSE:MAN). A survey of U.S. employers states there is an expected 9% growth in the first quarter, up from 7% a year ago. There are, however, about 7% of employers who are not sure what their hiring will be like next year. Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup President of the Americas, said, “This uptick is encouraging, but the historically high proportion of employers that are unsure of their hiring plans indicates continued uncertainty about the future and ongoing caution when it comes to staffing plans.”

This quarter’s survey reveals:

• Nine Straight Quarters of Employment Growth: According to seasonally adjusted data, U.S. employers have now conveyed a steady, but positive overall hiring Outlook for nine straight quarters, following three quarters of pessimistic employment plans in 2009. This is the first increase in quarter-over-quarter hiring intentions since Quarter 1 2011.

• Historically High Level of Employers Unsure About Plans: Seven percent of employers report they are unsure of their hiring intentions going into the new year. The rise from three to seven percent is the most significant quarterly increase since 1977 and represents the highest percentage of uncertain employers surveyed since 2005.

• Varying Regional Strength: Employers in all four U.S. regions surveyed report a positive Net Employment Outlook, with those in the Midwest region reporting the strongest at +10%. Supported by an increase in the Manufacturing industry sectors, this represents the most favorable hiring Outlook for the Midwest since Quarter 3 2008. Employers in the West region continue to offer the weakest Outlook with +6%.

• Pockets of Considerable Increases: Employers in 45 states report positive hiring intentions for Quarter 1 2012, as was the case in Quarter 4 2011. The Outlook in Florida and South Dakota, which were among the weaker labor markets one quarter ago, improved significantly. Now the two states are among the brightest hiring forecasts

Here’s how employment stocks are trading on the news:

Manpower Inc. (NYSE:MAN): MAN shares recently traded at $36.26, up $0.14, or 0.39%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $39.94 to $69.67. Volume today was 31,925 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 608,587 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-1.98 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:MWW): MWW shares recently traded at $8.07, up $0.02, or 0.25%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $6.34 to $25.90. Volume today was 122,265 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,685,390 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 23.60, while trailing earnings are $0.34 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD): LNKD shares recently traded at $72.58, up $1.29, or 1.81%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $55.98 to $122.70. Volume today was 178,557 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 1,350,430 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 994.25, while trailing earnings are $0.07 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:KELYA): KELYA shares recently traded at $13.83, up $0.19, or 1.39%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $10.77 to $22.99. Volume today was 16,859 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 198,734 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 9.58, while trailing earnings are $1.44 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

Robert Half International Inc. (NYSE:RHI): RHI shares recently traded at $28.02, up $0.4, or 1.45%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $19.69 to $34.26. Volume today was 187,979 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 1,828,100 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 30.69, while trailing earnings are $0.91 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

51job Inc. (NASDAQ:JOBS): JOBS shares recently traded at $44.73, up $0.28, or 0.63%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $36.62 to $69.80. Volume today was 1,000 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 107,542 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 24.66, while trailing earnings are $1.81 per share. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

More from The Cheat Sheet