Building Jobs for America: U.S. Labor Market Remains Positive in Q4 2017 Driven by Uptick in Manufacturing

Staff Report

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

U.S. employers expect the pace of hiring to remain positive in Q4, with one in five employers (21 percent) planning to add staff. Of the more than 11,500 U.S. employers surveyed, 71 percent expect to maintain their headcounts; just six percent expect workforce reductions and two percent are unsure. Employers across all sectors report favorable hiring intentions, with those in durable goods manufacturing reporting the strongest intentions in the past 10 years.

"Technological disruption is transforming manufacturing into a high-tech, high-skilled industry," said Michael Stull, Senior Vice President, Manpower North America. "At the same time, demand for 'Made in America' continues to grow and organizations are stepping up their manufacturing efforts here on US soil. From New York to New Mexico, manufacturing companies are looking for increasingly specific skills. That's why we're working with companies like Rockwell Automation to build the right-skilled advanced manufacturing workforce to help fuel America's growth. Other sectors would do well to follow the upskilling trend - the skills of the future will look very different from today. We can't afford to wait and see exactly what these skills might be. We need to build the plane while flying it too."

Taking seasonal variations into account, the Net Employment Outlook* for Q4 2017 is +17%. This marks the 13th consecutive quarter with an Outlook of +15% or stronger. Nationwide hiring prospects are unchanged from last quarter and relatively stable when compared to one year ago.


Staff Levels

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Net Employment

Q4 2017 (current)






Q3 2017 (previous quarter)






Q4 2016 (one year ago)






U.S. Hiring Plans by Regions, Industry Sectors and Metro Areas/States

  • Nationwide, employers in all 13 industry sectors expect to add staff in Q4 2017. Industries reporting the strongest second quarter hiring intentions are: Leisure & Hospitality (+28%), Professional & Business Services (+22%), Wholesale & Retail Trade (+20%), Manufacturing Durable Goods (+18%) and Transportation & Utilities (+18%).

  • Employers in all four regions in the U.S. have a positive outlook for their Q4 2017 hiring plans. When compared with the previous quarter, hiring intentions increase by four percentage points in the Northeast and are relatively stable in three regions. Compared with this time one year ago, hiring prospects are slightly stronger in the Northeast and remain relatively stable in the other three regions, with employers in the South and Midwest reporting no change year-over-year and employers in the West reporting a decrease of one percentage point.

  • For the coming quarter, employers in Delaware, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah report the strongest Net Employment Outlooks. Of the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, the strongest job prospects are expected in Cape Coral, Fla.; Oxnard, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Stockton, Calif.; Deltona, Fla.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Madison, Wis. and McAllen, Texas.