Job outlook still dismal
Manpower surveyed about 28,000 companies, and 69 percent reported they expect no change in their staffing levels in the next three months; 12 percent reported they will add jobs, and 14 percent said they will cut jobs. It's the weakest outlook in the history of the 47-year-old survey.
Manpower didn't survey companies in Rock or Walworth counties, but Cindy Harrington, the company's Janesville branch manager, said the local hiring outlook appears to be improving.
Local businesses often turn to Manpower for short-term staffing when they need workers but don't know if a turnaround will last, Harrington said.
"Were seeing a little glimmer, but I hesitate to say it's a trend," she said. "It seems that we're hearing from customers that we haven't heard from in awhile."
Six counties in southwest Wisconsin, including Rock County, together lost 13,000 jobs this year, she said. The area has a long road to recovery.
"I don't want to give anybody any false hopes," Harrington said. "Two years ago a company might have ordered 20 employees. Now we're seeing one (employee).
"It just stands to reason that we're not going to find jobs for those 13,000 people any time soon."
In Madison, which is the closest city included in the survey, employers are expected to hire at a cautious pace.
Seventy-one percent of employers said they will maintain current staff levels, while 11 percent are expected to hire, and 11 percent said they will cut jobs. The outlook is slightly better in the Milwaukee area.
James Otterstein, Rock County's economic development manager, said Rock County's employment forecast should mirror similar areas.
Those cities, however, haven't experienced the same level of economic challenges as Rock County, he said.
Janesville and Rock County had a 12.8 percent unemployment rate in July, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Walworth County's unemployment rate was 8.7 percent.
Statewide, data suggests it will be a while before companies need to hire, Otterstein said.
"While it's true that certain companies throughout Rock County are experiencing increased sales activities, these firms have noted that there just isn't sufficient volume to justify any staffing increases," he said.