The survey comes from the temporary employment company, Manpower. It says that during the spring, only seven percent of local companies plan to hire more employees. About a fifth plan to reduce their workforce.
"Obviously, the downsizing of employees with Ames and Kardex, the closings of Schott and Manville have been the trend for being a soft market," says Sandy Brown of Parkersburg's Manpower office.
Brown in part cites closings and downsizing of area manufacturing plants in recent years for the pessimistic outlook. A local development official doesn't argue with that, but says hopes for a better job picture.
"Some things that could happen in the third and fourth quarters should add some people to the workforce," says Jim Kinnett of the Mid-Ohio Valley Business Roundtable.
An interesting thing about this survey is that in West Virginia, where the unemployment rate has risen in recent months, the jobs outlook looks pretty good.
More than a quarter of West Virginia companies surveyed plan to hire more workers this spring, while only nine percent plan to reduce their workforce.
"Our other offices throughout the state are having a phenomenal year," Brown says, "in both temporary and seasonal employment."
Interestingly, both Brown and Kinnett cite recent projects such as the public debt expansion as an indication the local employment picture is improving.
Sixteen thousand employers across the country were contacted for the survey, and 28 percent say they plan to hire more workers this spring.
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