Next years first quarter reports offer a small beam of hope to a distressed job market. According to a quarterly survey conducted by the employment services company Manpower, 73% of employers plan to keep their staff levels the same. Furthermore, 12% of employers plan to hire in the first quarter and another 12% plan to make cuts. The remaining 3% were undecided on their first quarter plans. More than 28,000 employers in over 200 metropolitan areas were surveyed. CNN reports as we enter 2010 employers expect a 6% hiring rate which is the worst first quarter hiring pace since 1982. This is still an improvement from the negative 2% rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2009. The southern states reported the strongest employment outlook at 7%, followed by the mid-west at 6%, the northeast 3% and the west coast at 2%.
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