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Published: Tuesday, 9/13/2005

Survey: Fourth of employers in area plan to add staff soon

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

One in every four employers in the Toledo area expects to hire workers before the end of the year, an employment survey released today said.

Those hiring prospects, gathered prior to Hurricane Katrina, are on par with the national outlook, and better locally than the last quarter and than a year ago, according to Manpower International.

The hurricane's damage to the economy, job experts said, could alter the Manpower findings that 27 percent of area businesses expect to add workers and 7 percent to reduce workers in the October through December period.

"What we're seeing in these kind of reports and statistics is this economic expansion continues to grind forward," said economist Jim Coons, president of J.W. Coons Advisors in Columbus.

"But it's all a view from the rear-view mirror because Hurricane Katrina changes everything. It's going to be a time before we can get a good read on the economy and it will really be until the end of the year until we know for sure where things are going."

Sue Kruger a project assistant at Wilson Builders Inc., of Toledo, a general contractor that does primarily commercial construction, said she wasn't sure about adding to the work force this year. But, she said, the many local construction projects should mean no cuts.

"We would expect to maintain," Ms. Kruger said. "As for hiring, I wouldn't be able to answer that at this time."

The survey of an unspecified number of local firms is considered one benchmark job predictor. Nationally, Manpower surveys 16,000 employers.

The local findings are on track with the national results of 29 percent who expect to add workers and 8 percent to reduce them. For the current quarter, local employers predicted 20 percent would hire and 10 percent would cut. A year ago for the end of the year, 30 percent planned to hire and 13 percent said they would cut.

"It's not been that good of an employment outlook survey for the first couple of quarters, but at some time you've got to get your work done and start hiring a little," said Patty Bernal, spokesman for the Manpower office in Maumee.

Elsewhere in northwest Ohio, the survey showed in Defiance, 37 percent expect to increase workers and 10 percent to decrease employees; in Findlay 20 percent to add and none to decrease workers; in Lima, 33 percent to hire and 13 percent to let go; and in Sandusky, none to bolster and 13 percent to trim.

Contact Jon Chavez at:

jchavez@theblade.com

or 419-724-6128.



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