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February 25, 2021
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Business Review Western MI
Business Review Western MI
Steady Hiring Expected
(wgvu) - Hiring in the Grand Rapids-lakeshore area of western Michigan promises to be steady in the first quarter of 2007, while the outlook for the southern tier of communities is more mixed.

That's the consensus of some of the larger staffing agencies, including Manpower Inc. [NYSE: MAN], which queries 14,000 employers across the country quarterly.

Twenty percent of Grand Rapids area employers interviewed said they expect to hire more workers between January and March, Manpower reported, while 10 percent expect payroll cuts.

That's a little less than anticipated for this year's fourth quarter, but employers are more optimistic about hiring than there were a year ago, when 20 percent of companies surveyed thought job gains were likely and 20 percent intended to cut back, Manpower spokesman David Clonan said.

Hiring doldrums appear especially pronounced in Kalamazoo, where no employers surveyed said they anticipate hiring, and in Branch County, where 27 percent said they expect to cut jobs.

We see (2007 hiring) being relatively flat along the I-94 corridor Battle Creek, Marshall, Kalamazoo, noted Mark Lancaster, president and CEO of Battle Creek-based EmploymentGroup. Grand Rapids and Holland we see as being very strong.

With perhaps 2,000 temporary workers placed around central and western Michigan on any given day, 2006 has been a good year for EmploymentGroup, Lancaster said. Cautious employers often opt for temporary workers.

The uptick has certainly been on that more-flexible work force. But we are seeing more hiring starting to happen right now, out of the flexible pool into the permanent ranks, he said.

Despite predictions from the University of Michigan for continued automotive job losses in Michigan, manufacturers are continuing to hire temps, Lancaster said including professional staff such as engineers and managers.

Health care continues to be a strong field, and life sciences and other technology companies winning state funding through the 21st Century Jobs Fund also are planning to ramp up hiring to pursue product development and commercialization, he said.

Information-technology hiring also is looking strong enough that EmploymentGroup is in discussions with an I.T. specialty staffing agency regarding a possible partnership, Lancaster said.

Based on its own semiannual interviews with 100 companies, Holland-based Paragon Recruiting projects that 33 percent will boost their I.T. staffs over the winter and spring, and only three percent will cut such workers.

Schools also are likely to hire technology staff, the survey found, with I.T. consultants and health care employers also making such plans.

Retailers and wholesalers are the least likely to hire I.T. workers, Paragon reported, as are employers of between 51 and 100 workers.

A slight downward shift in hiring plans is projected nationwide by Manpower, with 23 percent of those surveyed reporting plans to hire in the first quarter and 11 percent expecting to cut jobs.

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