The fourth quarter of 2004 could be a good time to look for a job in Central Missouri, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released last week.
The survey, conducted each quarter to predict hiring and firing throughout the country, found that 40 percent of the companies interviewed said they were planning to add workers, compared to 31 percent a year ago.
Only in the public sector did more employers say they would be reducing staff rather than hiring.
Manpower spokeswoman Barb Schmutzler said that the fourth quarter numbers were slightly down from the third quarter forecast. In the third quarter, 53 percent of the companies interviewed said they planned to hire more staff.
Susan McKenzie, Manpower’s Columbia branch manager, cited the approaching presidential election for the slightly more pessimistic view. “It’s hard to know what the economy will do in an election year,” McKenzie said. “Most places will be a little more conservative when they are uncertain of what’s going to happen.”
Three percent of the companies interviewed said they were planning to reduce staff.
McKenzie said that numbers vary from quarter to quarter, depending on seasonal issues.
“For example, construction companies will usually hire more in the summer,” McKenzie said. “Now, the holiday season is approaching, so we’re seeing an increase in retail.”
Midway Arms, a mail-order shooting supplies company based in Columbia, is already adding jobs and will continue into October.
Jamie Haines, a human resources specialist at Midway, said the company is planning to add 20 to 25 employees to its evening shift.
“Business is very good,” Haines said. “We’re adding more products.”
Manpower surveyed 16,000 employers across the country. Twenty-eight percent of these companies said they were planning to add staff in the fourth quarter, while 7 percent said they would reduce staff.
McKenzie said that historically, central Missouri has been lagging behind other states in growth. However, she said the picture is improving quickly.
“Economic development directors are seeing that Missouri has a little more to offer than cattle,” McKenzie said.