These aren't the kind of odds that jobseekers are looking for.
Only 15 percent of Tampa Bay area employers surveyed by Manpower plan to hire more employees in the second quarter, while 15 percent plan to cut jobs.
The clear majority, 65 percent, intend to keep their current staffing levels, and 5 percent are unsure.
Manpower's employment outlook survey released Tuesday described the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market in stark terms, saying employers expected to hire at an "unstable pace."
The ray of light: It's slightly better than three months ago, when 17 percent of companies surveyed by the staffing company planned to cut workers and 15 percent were hiring. It's also better than several other Florida markets, including Miami-Fort Lauderdale, where only 5 percent of employers said they are hiring and 19 percent said they are cutting jobs.
In a January St. Petersburg Times survey, nearly 32 percent of area leaders said they planned layoffs this year, up from just 9 percent in 2008.
According to Manpower, the best job prospects in the quarter ahead are in professional and business services along with the leisure and hospitality industry. Employers in manufacturing, transportation/utilities and government are in reduction mode. Hiring activity is flat in some of the recession's hardest-hit sectors: construction, retail and financial activities.
The results placed the bay area in synch with national averages. Of the 31,800 employers surveyed nationally, 15 percent intend to add staff during the quarter, while 14 percent expect a decrease in their payrolls. Sixty-seven percent of employers surveyed expect no change, while 4 percent were undecided.
Manpower interviews employers in the country's top 200 metro areas for its quarterly surveys.