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Hiring outlook called 'encouraging'

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The head of the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce says positive hiring projections for the coming quarter are a sign of an economic “uptick.”

The latest Manpower Employment Outlook survey shows 27 per cent of the region's employers plan to hire for the third quarter, July through September, while three per cent expect cutbacks and the remaining 70 per cent plan to remain at current staffing levels.

When seasonal variations are factored out, that plus-24 third quarter “net employment outlook” reduces to 15 per cent.

That adjusted figure is a slight increase of two percentage points over the previous adjusted quarterly outlook, according to Manpower.

It also represents a 20-point increase over the outlook reported during the same time last year, “indicating an upbeat hiring pace for the upcoming months,” notes the firm.

“That's very encouraging,” said chamber of commerce president David Keenleyside.

He added the figures are indicative of a slow, patient local recovery.

“We still have a ways to go, but we're certainly seeing an uptick in economic activity,” said Keenleyside.

The chamber president hopes the coming weekend, billed as a blockbuster affair that includes the Tall Ships Festival, the 1000 Islands Wine and Food Festival and the 1000 Islands Jazz and Blues Festival, will provide an important boost to one major seasonal employer: the tourism industry.

“This could be the biggest weekend in a decade for Brockville,” said Keenleyside.

Mayor David Henderson took a more measured approach to the Manpower figures.

“It's good that they're doing that survey, but it is a survey,” said the mayor.

Given that, added Henderson, results that point to variations that are not drastic, such as this one, suggest it's “business as usual” with the local economy.

“It's a good indicating tool … but my take would be to watch for significant items,” he said.

The mayor defined the latter as “either a steep cliff up or a steep cliff down.”

The Manpower announcement predicts a “moderate national hiring climate” for the third quarter, with employers in the transportation, public utilities and construction sectors reporting the strongest job prospects.

Henderson said local officials should keep their eyes on the national and provincial economic pictures.

“As the big economy goes, and as Ontario goes, so we go,” said the mayor.


FACT BOX

EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

Manpower Inc.'s quarterly employment outlook survey speaks to more than 1,900 Canadian employers.

The Brockville numbers are based on a local portion of that survey sample, covering a wide area including Prescott, Gananoque, Kemptville, Smiths Falls and Perth.

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