Employment survey predicts local increase in 4th quarter hiring
By Jonathon Gutierrez
The Miami-Dade job market looks stronger in the fourth quarter this year, according to a poll by Manpower Inc.
The poll, part of a nationwide survey conducted quarterly by the employment firm, targets private corporations and public bodies to learn about hiring expectations.
Of the county's companies contacted, 37% reported they planned to hire more people between October and December while 8% said they expected cutbacks in staffing.
Of the remaining companies, 45% expect to remain at current levels and 10% have not finalized plans.
The hiring shows optimism over the same period last year, when 25% of Miami employers reported an expected increase and 12% expected a decline.
The possible increase in jobs could lower the county's unemployment rate, reported at 6% in June, said Dr. John Cordrey, senior vice president of research for the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development agency.
The local rate has risen steadily from 5.4% in February to a high of 6.3% in June, according to the Department of Labor.
Manpower's national statistics for the period showed a drop, with 24% planning further hiring and 11% expecting staffing declines. Sixty percent of firms expect no change and 5% are uncertain.
For 2000, 32% expected increases and only 7% planned to trim staffs.
"We are getting busier for the last quarter of this year," said Luis Rodriguez, manager for Manpower's Miami office. "We're seeing that with some of our customers, even though they've been doing some layoffs, they've been placing orders for people."
In the past two weeks, Mr. Rodriguez said he has seen a dramatic increase in employment orders, with one Miami-based manufacturer seeking 200 people last week and another one looking for 60 to 75 people Tuesday.
Mr. Rodriguez said he could not name the firms due to Manpower's policy.
While he said the service industry will be expanding, he's mostly been receiving requests for staff from manufacturing companies, as clients that have kept employment low during the troubled economy may expand for the coming holidays.
"They're getting orders for Christmas," he said. "It's been slow for the last two quarters. So now they need extra people to balance it out."
Joan Greenberg, a Manpower area manager who supervises Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, said the figures come as a surprise.
"Even though the survey said that there is a spirited increase in the hiring pace, we're still seeing a slowdown," she said. "This was done by survey. But we're still out there contacting companies and we're hearing that many companies are on hold right now."
The exception, she said, is Mr. Rodriguez' office. And although the upturn is recent, she said she thinks it will continue.
"All I can say is I've seen both sides," she said. "We've seen companies in holding patterns."
The expected growth in jobs is not surprising, said Mr. Cordrey.
"We see growth out there," he said. "Construction is strong and is consistent with what's up in the economy that local businesses would consider expanding their payrolls. It's not surprising."
"The reason that the unemployment rate is going up is not because we're losing jobs," Dr. Cordrey said, "but because of the large number of people entering our labor force. The labor force, including those that still want jobs, is growing faster than we can produce for them. Because employers are saying, 'we're going to be hiring more workers,' one could visualize that unemployment would start to go down. So the future looks bright."