Central Ohio employers plan to add jobs late in year

Mark Williams, The Columbus Dispatch

September 9, 2014

Area employers are expected to step up hiring in the final months of the year compared with the summer, according to a Manpower survey being released today.

The survey shows that of the companies surveyed, 23 percent say they plan to add employees in the October-to-December period, while 6 percent say they plan to reduce staff size. Of the rest, 69 percent expect to maintain their staffing level, and 2 percent aren't sure.

The 17-percentage-point spread between companies hiring and laying off is 3 points larger than in the July-September quarter and 7 points larger than in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The 17-point spread also is the best among Ohio's metro areas and 7 points better than the state's spread.

Sue Ellen Deiley, managing director in the central Ohio office of Experis, a professional-services company that is part of Manpower, said her office has been so busy that it has hired a handful of people. The office typically has 15 to 20 employees.

"All of our major employers in Columbus have had strong years, from what we can see, and they're investing in their people and their companies," she said.

She isn't surprised by the outlook, given conditions over the summer.

"Generally, through the summer, business is a little lighter," she said. "This summer, we really didn't have a slowdown. We have strong indicators from all of our clients for a very strong fourth quarter."

Central Ohio has the lowest unemployment rate among the state's metropolitan areas, and the rate is among the lowest in the country.

A Wells Fargo & Co. report last month said Columbus had the fifth-lowest unemployment rate among metropolitan areas with more than 1 million residents. Its rate of 4.4 percent in May was a seven-year low; the rate rose to 4.9 percent in July, according to more recent employment figures.

Salt Lake City had the nation's lowest rate, 3.3 percent, followed by Austin, Texas; Minneapolis; and Oklahoma City.

Deiley also noted that the Manpower report shows fewer employers planning to cut back this fall than in the fall of 2013, when 8 percent of employers expected to reduce staffing.

The fourth quarter is typically a time when many companies announce restructurings that often lead to job losses, she said.

The report shows that the best job prospects for the fourth quarter in central Ohio are in a broad swath of industries: manufacturing, finance, professional and business services, private education and health care, leisure and hospitality, and government. Only the construction and information sectors plan to reduce staffing levels, according to the Manpower report.

"We have job openings across all industries," Deiley said.