If job seekers think hiring is sluggish in the Tampa Bay area, they would find the job market even tighter to our south.
In fact, the Naples-Marco Island area and Cape Coral-Fort Myers rank as the second- and third-weakest hiring markets in the country, respectively, in Manpower's quarterly employment outlook survey released Tuesday.
The survey, which contrasts the number of employers hiring with those shedding jobs, said Naples-Marco Island had an employment outlook of minus 20 percent, second only to San Juan, Puerto Rico, at minus 21 percent. Cape Coral-Fort Myers was close behind at minus 14 percent.
By contrast, the strongest market in the country was Barnstable Town, Mass., southeast of Boston, with a plus 20 percent employment outlook. And apparently, employers have plenty of openings in Anchorage, Alaska (No. 2 at plus 16 percent).
In the Tampa Bay area, 11 percent of companies surveyed said they planned to hire more employees in the July-to-September quarter, 14 percent planned to cut their payroll, 69 percent planned to keep current staffing and 6 percent weren't sure. That translates to an employment outlook of minus 3 percent.
Manpower spokeswoman Judy Leppla said the bay area fell slightly from the previous quarter, when 15 percent of employers said they were hiring more and 15 percent said they were cutting.
Looking ahead, the best hiring prospects locally are in construction, wholesale and retail trade, and professional and business services, the survey found. Employers in manufacturing, transportation and utilities, information, education and health services, government and leisure are among those most likely to cut. Hiring in financial activities is expected to remain unchanged.
Nationally, of more than 28,000 employers surveyed, 15 percent planned to increase staff levels this upcoming quarter and 13 percent planned cuts, leading to an employment outlook of plus 2 percent.
The outlook, however, does not reflect how many jobs a given employer plans to add or cut. The national unemployment rate of 9.4 percent is expected to continue to rise in coming months.