Connecticut employers expect a modest increase in hiring in the first quarter of 2021, according to a new survey.
The ManpowerGroup Q1 Employment Outlook Survey found that 18% of Connecticut employers plan to hire more workers from January through March but that 7% plan to cut payroll—an 11% net employment outlook.
Two-thirds of Connecticut employers (67%) expect to maintain current staffing levels in the first quarter of 2021 while 8% of survey respondents indicate they are unsure of their hiring plans.
“Compared to Q4 2020 when the net employment outlook was 6%, Connecticut employers have reported a stronger hiring pace,” said Betty Gooding of Manpower.
“When looking at year-over-year expectations, hiring intentions have slowed down from when the outlook was 15%.”
That 15% expectation for the 2020 first quarter was pre-pandemic.
Statewide, employers in the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford corridor are the most optimistic about hiring in the first quarter, with an overall 18% employment outlook, placing the region among the nation’s top 30.
Among surveyed Hartford-area employers, 23% plan to hire more employees while 5% plan to reduce payroll.
Slightly more than two-thirds of employers in the Hartford region (68%) expect no staffing changes while 4% are unsure of their hiring plans.
“Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford employers have reported a stronger hiring pace” compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, when the net employment outlook was 14%, Gooding said.
“Hiring intentions have picked up,” she noted.
Fairfield County, New Haven
Hiring expectations are lower in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area with an overall employment outlook of 6%, slightly higher than the 5% in the New Haven-Milford area.
Some 12% of employers in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region plan to hire more workers in the first quarter but 6% plan to reduce payroll.
Seven of 10 employers in the region will maintain current staffing levels in the first three months of 2021 while 12% are unsure of their plans.
Gooding said the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region’s outlook for the first quarter is far better than the net outlook of 1% in the last quarter of 2020.
In the New Haven-Milford area, 15% of employers surveyed plan to increase hiring in the first quarter but 10% plan to cut payroll, for a 5% net outlook.
While 63% of employers plan no first quarter hiring, 12% indicated they are unsure.
Gooding noted the New Haven region’s employment outlook in the fourth quarter of 2020 was minus 3%, indicating a “stronger hiring pace” for the upcoming quarter.
Vermont leads New England and the nation with 56% of surveyed employers saying they expect to bring on new staff in the first three months of the year with 0% planning reductions.
Maine has a net employment outlook of 25%, followed by Rhode Island (19%), New Hampshire (16%), Connecticut, and Massachusetts (10%).
Only 14% of New York employers are optimistic about hiring new employees in the first quarter, while in New Jersey optimism is slightly higher at 20%.
Nationwide, 21% of businesses expect to make new hires in the first quarter, 6% anticipate cutting payroll, 68% expect no change, and 5% are unsure.
The 6,700 employers surveyed nationwide said employee health and wellbeing at 55%, development of leaders/managers (22%), and upskilling, learning, and development (20%) have all risen in importance due to the pandemic.
Nationally, employers in 12 industry sectors expect to increase staffing in the 2021 first quarter including:
- Leisure and hospitality, 26%
- Transportation and utilities, 22%
- Wholesale and retail trade, 20%
- Nondurable goods manufacturing, 19%
- Construction, 17%
- Professional and business services, 17%
- Education and health services, 14%
- Financial activities, 14%,
- Durable goods manufacturing, 14%
- Government, 10%
- Information, 9%
- Other services, 9%