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Area hiring expected to be strong

Duluth-Superior will be a area's hiring leader during the first quarter of 2007, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released this morning.

Duluth-Superior will be a area's hiring leader during the first quarter of 2007, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released this morning.

Twenty-three percent of companies interviewed expect to hire and 7 percent plan to shrink their payrolls. A year ago, 20 percent expected to hire and 13 percent planned workforce cuts.

The Twin Ports is on par with national estimates, where 23 percent of employers also plan to hire during the first quarter, a level of growth similar to the same period last year but lower than more recent quarters.

The local outlook reflects a stark difference compared with other areas of the Midwest, which have exhibited hiring declines for the past year. Twenty percent of companies report they will hire in the first quarter while 12 percent plan fewer hirings. Last quarter, 26 percent of companies in the region reported an expected increase while 9 percent predicted a decrease.

"This is the fourth straight quarter that Midwest employers reported the lowest hiring intentions," said Jonas Prising, president of Manpower's North American operations.

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Mining, a regional stronghold, continues to improve and has the strongest outlook of all industries surveyed. Thirty-two percent of mining companies plan to increase hiring in the first quarter, up 1 percent from the previous quarter, the survey said. Six percent of companies in the sector said they would reduce hiring, down from 8 percent the previous quarter.

According to regional reports:

  • In the Twin Cities, 18 percent of companies expect to hire and 28 percent plan to release employees.
  • The Hudson Employment Index, from another staffing company, shows more workers in November expecting their companies to add employees and fewer suspecting layoffs.
  • Grant Thornton finds greater hiring expectations among Wisconsin manufacturers than nationwide or across the Great Lakes region.
  • The state average is 16 percent of companies expecting to hire and 17 percent expecting a workforce reduction.
  • Construction and manufacturing look to be especially slow for first quarter.

-- McClatchy-Tribune, Associated Press and Duluth News Tribune contributed to this story

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