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Peoria area employers expect to hire at a dismal pace during the first quarter of 2006, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Among survey participants, the Peoria area employment outlook is one of the weakest in the nation.

From January to March, 7 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 40 percent expect to reduce their payrolls, according to Manpower spokesperson Doug Orear. Another 53 percent expect to maintain their current staff levels.

“The Peoria area employment outlook is significantly softer than the fourth quarter forecast, when 53 percent of the companies interviewed predicted an increase in hiring activity and 3 percent planned to decrease the hiring pace,” said Orear. “A year ago at this time, employers revealed considerably more positive hiring intentions, when 40 percent of companies surveyed thought employment increases were likely and 7 percent intended to cut back.”

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in construction and wholesale/retail trade. Employers in durable goods manufacturing, transportation/public utilities, finance/insurance/real estate, and services plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in non-durable goods manufacturing, education, and public administration is expected to remain unchanged.

The national results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveal that U.S. employers plan to carry over their hiring sentiments into 2006. This rounds out two consecutive years of consistent job prospects.

Of the 16,000 employers surveyed, 23 percent anticipate an increase in hiring activity for the first quarter of 2006, while 10 percent expect to decrease staff levels. Sixty-one percent of employers surveyed foresee no change in hiring plans, while 6 percent are unsure of their staffing needs. The seasonally adjusted net employment outlook for the first three months of the year is 20 percent, identical to the fourth quarter of 2005 and nearly the same as one year ago. IBI

Employment Outlook Survey
Summary of Results for the State of Illinois
1st Quarter-2006 (January/February/March)

INCREASE DECREASE NET
Bloomington 17% 3% 14%
Champaign Area 20% 7% 13%
Chicago 16% 28% -12%
IL Quad Cities 20% 13% 7%
Peoria 7% 40% -33%
Rockford 20% 10% 10%
Springfield Area 33% 23% 10%
State Average 18% 12% 6%
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