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Metro Atlanta employment outlook weakening

7:16 AM, Sep 11, 2012   |    comments
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The Manpower employment outlook for the fourth quarter of 2012.

ATLANTA -- ManpowerGroup released new numbers Tuesday that signal a slowdown in hiring for metro Atlanta in the fourth quarter of 2012. 

The global staffing company surveyed thousands of companies to come up with Q4 Employment Outlook for Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Marietta.

The survey shows 13 percent of companies plan to increase staffing levels during the last three months of the year, while nine percent plan to cut staff and 78 percent plan to maintain staffing levels at the current levels.

The numbers combine to create a net employment outlook of four percent, which is down from last quarter (13 percent) and last year (10 percent).

Despite the numbers, Beth Herman, Manpower's Regional Vice President of Atlanta, said she sees reason to be encouraged.

"My clients are not doom and gloom," Herman said. "They are not laying off. They are not shutting down. For the most part, we've seen manufacturing running three shifts. We've seen people working overtime. They're still placing orders and still struggling to find the right talent to fit the jobs today."

Manpower's survey shows the best job prospects in manufacturing, technology and leisure and hospitality.

Herman said the uncertainty of the presidential election is one factor in the weaker fourth quarter numbers. Long-term unemployment is another factor.

"They look at you like you're rusty," said Eric Hunter, a father of two who's desperate to get back in the workforce.

Hunter lost his job at an Atlanta warehouse almost a year ago.

"I just need a chance to get in to an interview," Hunter said. "Just a little chance would help."

Hunter is one of millions of Americans struggling with long-term unemployment, defined as those out of work for 26 weeks or more.

Herman calls it an epidemic.

"There's a gap there," she said. "In some cases, we've got the skills gap and the talent mismatch. It continues to be a pervasive issue in our local economy."

Herman encourages job-seekers to stay active, positive and sharp, despite their hardships.

She also pushes employers to give the long-term unemployed a closer look.

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