Wed, Sep 12, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Companies positive on hiring but momentum is slowing: poll

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Local employers remain positive about hiring in the fourth quarter, but momentum is slowing given concerns about economic growth, a poll showed yesterday.

The quarterly poll, conducted by the international job consultant Manpower Inc, showed that local companies were worried about rising oil and raw material prices, as well as political uncertainty ahead of the presidential elections in March.

Some 20 percent of the 1,498 employers interviewed said they might increase their workforce next quarter, with the strongest demand coming from the mining and construction sectors, while 9 percent said they might cut jobs, Manpower said in a statement released yesterday.

Some 60 percent said they did not expect any changes in staffing.

This resulted in a "net employment outlook" figure of 11 percent -- calculated by subtracting the percentage of employers planning to reduce staffing levels from the percentage planning to hire workers.

The figure represented a 3 percentage point drop from the previous quarter and the same quarter last year. That meant the nation's net employment outlook remained positive, but growth is slowing.

Last year, 28 percent of the 1,330 local firms surveyed said they planned to increase staff in the final quarter, while 14 percent said they planned to cut their workforce.

"The rise in global oil prices, raw material prices and consumer prices may have clouded optimism about the nation's job outlook," Terence Liu (劉玿廷), general manager of Manpower Taiwan, said in the statement.

Last month, the statistics bureau said that the jobless rate improved to 4.03 percent in July, compared with 4.05 a year earlier, but rose 0.07 percentage points from June.

Local companies may also have adopted a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the presidential elections in March, Liu said.

"Local employers have to assess the possible impact of the election outcome on their businesses," Liu said.

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