The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reveals slight improvement in hiring confidence in the wholesale and retail trade sectors for the third quarter of 2009.
The survey, released today, indicates the employment prospects for job seekers in the wholesale and retail trade sector has marginally improved, however, it is still sluggish compared to 12 months ago.
The survey of 2806 employers across Australia revealed that the majority of employers in this sector intend to hold onto their headcount for the next quarter. This sector’s employment market shows a marginal improvement of four percentage points in the hiring intention for the July – September quarter of 2009, with a net employment outlook of minus one per cent, however, year-over-year it is a considerable 18 percentage points weaker. 
“The third quarter of 2009 shows some stability for job seekers in this sector, however, their future still remains uncertain with a net employment outlook of minus one per cent,” said Lincoln Crawley, managing director, Manpower Australia and New Zealand.
“This supports our prediction of a ‘wait and see’ approach from the last two quarters – employers are playing it safe and holding onto key staff members and waiting till the economy improves before making pertinent headcount decisions,”
The survey also reveals that employers in the Northern Territory (+21 per cent) are reporting the most optimistic hiring intentions among all regions surveyed, and the region’s outlook is seven percentage points stronger and one percentage point weaker quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, respectively.
In comparison, the least optimistic regional hiring intentions are reported by employers in the Brisbane/Queensland (minus 5 per cent) region where the outlook is two and 31 percentage points weaker quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, respectively. This region’s outlook, as well as the outlooks for Melbourne/Victoria (minus one per cent), Hobart/Tasmania (plus two per cent), is the weakest since the Australian survey was launched.
“The stability in hiring plans could be attributed to the recent interest rate cuts, combined with the Australian government’s stimulus package directed at high-spending groups such as pensioners and first-time home buyers, this should limit any additional rise in the jobless rate,” said Crawley.
“However, the pace of hiring in all sectors is expected to be weaker than historical patterns. Job seekers in the transportation and utilities sector will continue to be frustrated as the outlook is the weakest since the survey began in 2003.”