Oklahoma survey’s outlook for jobs gets grim

BY DEBBIE BLOSSOM Modified: December 8, 2009 at 12:51 am •  Published: December 8, 2009
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The Oklahoma City area’s months of economic accolades and low unemployment didn’t keep its first-quarter employment outlook from Manpower from being ranked one of the weakest in the nation.

Hiring from metro-area employers is expected to be subdued during the first quarter of 2010, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released today. And while the survey for Tulsa often lags or is about the same as the Oklahoma City area, the job market there starting in January appears more positive.

Locally, 9 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees and 20 percent expect to reduce payrolls, according to the Manpower survey. But the report isn’t all gloomy. Sixty-seven percent expect to maintain current staff levels, and 4 percent are not certain of hiring plans, the survey showed.

Compared with the previous quarter when 14 percent of companies interviewed intended to add employees, and 9 percent planned to reduce staff levels, area hiring levels appear to be significantly weaker, said Jim White, the managing director for Manpower Professional for Oklahoma, Arizona and Utah.

Employers are much less optimistic about hiring activity as compared to one year ago, when 21 percent of companies surveyed planned to increase staff levels and 7 percent expected to cut payrolls, the report said.