Report: Employers more confident about hiring

[caption id="attachment_52458" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Sonoma County job growth and jobs, March 2001-February 2012 (click to enlarge)"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_52456" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Napa County job growth and jobs, March 2001-February 2012 (click to enlarge)"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_52457" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Solano County job growth and jobs, March 2001-February 2012 (click to enlarge)"][/caption]

Employers in Sonoma County are more confident about the prospect of hiring in the second quarter compared to last year, with 13 percent saying they expected to increase staffing levels, according to a quarterly survey by ManpowerGroup, an international staffing firm with a Santa Rosa location.

And overall in the North Bay, employers are generally more confident about the economy than they have been, suggesting that a slow but steady economic recovery is wending its way through region, employment experts said. 

"I think that employers are starting to see momentum in the economy, much of it fueled by the equity market ramp up and some bottoming out on housing prices," said Dr. Robert Eyler, director of Sonoma State University's executive MBA program and a Frank Howard Allen Research Fellow. "Consumer confidence has continued to rise, as have retail sales."

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[caption id="attachment_52339" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Rob Eyler"][/caption]

In the first quarter of 2012, 8 percent of Sonoma County employers said they expected to increase staffing levels, according to the Manpower survey. Another 8 percent in the first quarter said they expected to decrease staffing levels. In the second quarter, only 4 percent said the same, while 79 percent said they expected keep levels the same. This year, 83 percent said they expected to maintain current staffing levels, compared to 76 percent a year ago. The survey put the net employment outlook -- planned hiring activity versus planned decreases -- at a net 9 percent improvement, compared to 3 percent a year ago.

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"Empirically, we're seeing improvement in the number of jobs that we're being asked to fill," said David Ohman, branch manager of Santa Rosa's Manpower. "We have seen an improving trend since basically last summer."


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