Manpower Employment Outlook Survey

Mild Job Market Expected for Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA

March 8, 2011 – Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA employers expect to hire at a conservative pace during Quarter 2 2011, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Among survey participants, the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA employment outlook is one of the weakest in the nation.

From April to June, 12% of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 11% expects to cut staff. Another 76% expect to maintain their current staff levels and 1% are not certain of their hiring plans. This yields a Net Employment Outlook* of 1%.

“Employers are similarly confident about hiring plans for the second quarter of 2011 compared to Quarter 1 when the Net Employment Outlook was 2%,” said Manpower spokesperson Karen Miller. “Employers foresee weaker staffing plans compared with one year ago, when the Net Employment Outlook was 8%.

Summary of Results for Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA


For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Information, Professional & Business Services, Leisure & Hospitality and Other Services. Employers in Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Education & Health Services and Government plan to reduce staffing levels, while Financial Activities employers report no change in hiring sentiment.

Manpower Employment Outlook Survey Results for the United  States 

Of the more than 18,000 employers surveyed in the United States, 16% anticipate an increase in staff levels in their Quarter 2 2011 hiring plans, while 6% expect a decrease in payrolls, resulting in a Net Employment Outlook of +10%. When seasonally adjusted, the Net Employment Outlook becomes +8%. Seventy-four percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans. The remaining 4% of employers indicate they are undecided about their hiring intentions.

The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on June 14, 2011 to report hiring expectations for Quarter 3 2011.

 About the Survey

Manpower Inc., an innovative workforce solutions company, releases the global Manpower Employment Outlook Survey quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce during the next quarter. The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey’s United States results are based on interviews with 18,000 employers located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which includes the largest 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on number of business establishments. The mix of industries within the survey follows the North American Industry Classification System Supersectors and is structured to be representative of the U.S. economy.

The complete results of the national Manpower Employment Outlook Survey can be found in the Press Room of our website at There you will also find the results for the 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas surveyed, the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Questions can be directed to 

What is the “new normal?”

“The world is on the cusp of entering a new reality in which human potential itself will become the major agent of economic growth. Unleashing this spirit and potential will become the ultimate quest that we must seek to conquer, as the world enters the Human Age.”  Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman, CEO and President, Manpower Inc.

Manpower Releases 2Q 2010 Employment Outlook Survey

Today, Manpower Inc. released the results of its 2nd Quarter 2010 Employment Outlook Survey.

For the Des Moines-West Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area, hiring intentions are slightly better than they were in the first quarter of the year, and significantly stronger than they were at this time last year, as 17% of employers surveyed plan to add staff, while 9% plan to decrease staff levels.  No change in staffing is anticipated by 72%, and 2% of employers are unsure what direction their hiring activity will take.  In addition to the 2% increase in the net percentage over 1st Quarter, I also find it interesting that the overall percentage of employers who don’t know what they’re going to do seems to be decreasing.  Perhaps that’s at least indicative of a greater level of confidence in forecasting by hiring managers.

For the upcoming quarter, job prospects appear best in Durable Goods Manufacturing, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Information, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services and Leisure & Hospitality.

Employers in Wholesale & Retail Trade, Education & Health Services and Government plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in Construction and Other Services is expected to remain unchanged.
Of the 18,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 16% expect to increase their staff levels during the second quarter, while 8% expect to reduce their payrolls. Seventy-three percent expect no change in hiring, and 3% are undecided about their Quarter 2 2010 hiring plans.  To see the full U.S. report – click here…
The next Manpower Employment Outlook Survey will be released on June 8, 2010 to report hiring expectations for Quarter 3 2010.

Summary of Results for Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA MSA
Staff Levels
Staff Levels
Staff Levels
Don’t Know
Q2 2010
17% 9% 72% 2% 8%
Q1 2010
(previous quarter)
13% 7% 75% 5% 6%
Q2 2009
(one year ago)
16% 15% 66% 3% 1%
*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring
activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

Friday Funnies: Suspicious Survey

Happy Friday!

Manpower Inc. Identifies Four Mega Trends

Manpower Inc. is a strategic partner of the 40th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, held in Davos, Switzerland this week. At the Forum, key Manpower Inc. executives are participating in discussions around a slate of topics ranging from global commonalities to gender parity to the future of employment to social networking.

In conjunction with the Forum, Manpower Inc. released information identifying four Mega Trends which are transforming and accelerating the world of work. They are:

  • The Talent Mismatch is deepening as the working age population declines and the nature of work changes. These significant shifts in talent supply are transforming the global labor market.
  • Individual Choice will be exercised by those with the skills that are most in demand, requiring companies to think differently about how jobs are defined and how they will attract and retain scarce talent.
  • Rising Customer Sophistication requires businesses to work in a new way, driven by innovation and delivering greater value and efficiency.
  • Technological Revolutions have the power to change where, when and how we work, enabling organizations to be more agile and innovative – if they know how to leverage it.

“In recent weeks, the status and significance of the rapidly expanding temporary workforce has been widely discussed – and woefully misunderstood,” said Jeff Joerres, Manpower Inc. Chairman and CEO. “Companies will increasingly look to temporary workers to gain the flexibility and agility required to appropriately and strategically adjust to consumer demand.  At the same time, individuals are increasingly exercising more choice when it comes to pursuing employment that meets their expectations and taps their motivations.”

“Business leaders around the world will need to ask themselves what the trends mean for their organizations and what they will do to respond to them, according to Manpower research.  Organizations need to carefully consider their people practices, a critical element to navigating the changing world of work.”

“As the economy rebounds, companies will need to prepare for a new normal, carefully adjusting their business strategy and evaluating their workforce,” said Joerres. “In the past, access to capital gave companies their edge; soon talent will become the competitive differentiator and companies will compete for talent as rigorously as individuals now compete for jobs. ”

“Given these trends, the temporary workforce will lead the way as the world recovers and companies are forced to do more with less and meet consumers’ ever-rising expectations,” Joerres added. “To attract and retain these ‘workforce accelerators’ who offer highly specialized skills, smart companies will strive to create a workplace culture that is healthy, flexible and satisfying.”

To see an executive summary, click here…

Good stuff!  Take note America – things are changing before our very eyes.

Oddball Interview Questions

People ask peculiar questions of one another all the time.  When the person asking the questions is a potential employer, however, there may be more riding on your response than mastering off-the-wall chitchat.

One of my favorite old Stephen Wright comedy pieces (paraphrased below) illustrates that point.

“I was at a job interview, and I stopped the interview and asked the guy ‘If you were in a car traveling at the speed of light, and you turned on the headlights, what would happen?’  He said ‘I don’t know.’  I said ‘Well then I don’t want to work for you!'”

The folks at have compiled their list of the top oddball interview questions of 2009.  How would you do if your next job depended on your response to one of these questions?

1.  What was your best McGuyver moment? – view answers
Asked at Schlumberger. More Schlumberger Interview Questions

2.  How many tennis balls are in this room and why? – view answers
Asked at Yahoo. More Yahoo Interview Questions

3.  If you were a brick in a wall which brick would you be and why? – view answers
Asked at Nestle USA. More Nestle USA Interview Questions

4.  How would you move Mount Fuji? – view answers
Asked at Microsoft. More Microsoft Interview Questions

5.  If two cars are traveling in a two lap race on a track of any length, one going 60 mph and the other going 30mph, how fast will the slower car have to go to finish at the same car to finish at the same time? – view answers
Asked at Morgan Stanley. More Morgan Stanley Interview Questions

6.  Are your parents disappointed with your career aspirations? – view answers
Asked at Fisher Investments. More Fisher Investments Interview Questions

7.  Tell me how you would determine how many house painters there are in the United States? – view answers
Asked at Acquity Group. More Acquity Group Interview Questions

8.  What should it cost to rent Central Park for commercial purposes? – view answers
Asked at Bain & Co. More Bain Interview Questions

9.  If I put you in a sealed room with a phone that had no dial tone, how would you fix it? – view answers
Asked at Apple. More Apple Interview Questions

10. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why? – view answers
Asked at Pacific Sunwear. More Pacific Sunwear Interview Questions

11.  How many hair salons are there in Japan? – view answers
Asked at Boston Consulting. More BCG Interview Questions

12.  If both a taxi and a limo were priced the exact same, which one would you choose? – view answers
Asked at Best Buy. More Best Buy Interview Questions

13.  How to measure 9 minutes using only a 4 minute and 7 minute hourglass? – view answers
Asked at Bank of America. More BOA Interview Questions

14.  What are 5 uncommon uses of a brick, not including building, layering, or a paper-weight? – view answers
Asked at Kaplan High Education. More Kaplan Higher Education Interview Questions

15.  What is the probability of throwing 11 and over with 2 dices – view answers
Asked at American Airlines. More American Airlines Interview Questions

16.  What is your favorite food? – view answers
Asked at Apple Store. More Apple Interview Questions

17.  Say you are dead- what do you think your eulogy would say about you. – view answers
Asked at Nationwide. More Nationwide Interview Questions

18.  Given a dictionary of words, how do you calculate the anagrams for a new word? – view answers
Asked at Amazon. More Amazon Interview Questions

19.  How many lightbulbs are in this building? – view answers
Asked at Monitor Group. More Monitor Group Interview Questions

20.  Given a square grid of numbers, considering all the numbers at the boundary as one layer and numbers just inside as another layer and so on how would you rotate each of the layers of the numbers by a given amount. – view answers
Asked at Microsoft. More Microsoft Interview Questions

21.  How would you sell me eggnog in Florida in the summer? – view answers
Asked at Expedia. More Expedia Interview Questions

22.  Develop an algorithm for finding the shortest distance between two words in a document.  After the phone interview is over, take a few hours to develop a working example in C++ and send it to the manager. – view answers
Asked at Google. More Google Interview Questions

23.  Given a fleet of 50 trucks, each with a full fuel tank and a range of 100 miles, how far can you deliver a payload? You can transfer the payload from truck to truck, and you can transfer fuel from truck to truck.  Extend your answer for n trucks. – view answers
Asked at Palantir. More Palantir Interview Questions

24.  You are in a room with 3 switches which correspond to 3 bulbs in another room and you don’t know which switch corresponds to which bulb. You can only enter the room with the bulbs once. You can NOT use any external equipment (power supplies, resistors, etc.). How do you find out which bulb corresponds to which switch? – view answers
Asked at Goldman Sachs. More Goldman Sachs Interview Questions

25.  If you saw someone steal a quarter. Would you report it? – view answers
Asked at Amazon. More Amazon Interview Questions

See more at the blog

As if interviews weren’t already stressful enough!


Friday Funnies: Consultant – Dilbert

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