ATLANTA (AJC)-More metro Atlanta employers will be looking to hire than fire in the first quarter of 2012, according to a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup.

For the next three-month period, from January to March, 18 percent of Atlanta companies interviewed said they plan to hire more workers, while only 6 percent said they expect to reduce staff. Most respondents — 71 percent — said they anticipate maintaining their current employment levels, with the remaining 5 percent were not certain of their staffing plans.

Atlanta employers were positive entering the current quarter, too. But while 20 percent had planned to boost employment from October through December, 10 percent expected to lower staff levels. That left a net employment outlook gain of 10 percent. The expectation for the first quarter of 2012 represents a net gain of 12 percent.

The net employment gain expected for the first quarter of 2011 was only 3 percent. Back then, 11 percent of employers anticipated increasing staff and 8 percent expected to reduce employment.

Manpower spokesperson Beth Herman said the metro area has had nine consecutive quarters of a positive net employment outlook.

“But the fact that it’s a 12 [next quarter] and a year prior it was a 3, that’s saying something,” she said.

Across Georgia, employers also expect more hiring. For the first quarter of the new year, 15 percent expect to increase staff while 7 percent look for a decrease, leaving a net gain of 8 percent. The net gain that had been forecast in the current quarter was 6 percent. A year ago, it was 3 percent.

ManpowerGroup, a global staffing agency, interviews 18,000 employers in every state on a quarterly basis for the survey.

Nationally, 14 percent of employers expect to add workers in the first quarter of 2012 while 9 percent expect to reduce payroll.


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