Whither the Don’t Knows Will Go
Under the headline “Hiring plans looking up in Providence area“:
More than 4 of every 10 Providence-area employers plan to maintain their current staffing, while few plan to cut their payrolls in the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
The study showed that from next month to December, 43 percent plan to keep the same work force level and 7 percent plan to cut jobs.
About 17 percent of the companies interviewed said they plan to hire more employees in the fourth quarter, while 33 percent said they are not certain of their hiring plans.
I don’t want to see Rhode Islanders losing their jobs, and I certainly don’t want to talk down the economy any more than participatory realism requires, but the “looking up” phrase seems a little optimistic to me. If 17% of companies plan to hire, while 7% already plan to fire, that’s a net increase of 10%. But imagining ourselves in the place of the interviewees, which way are those “uncertain” companies more likely to go? Because all employers would prefer to be hiring (which would mean that they are growing), my guess is that at least a third of that 33% comes from businesses that are hoping that they won’t have to lay anybody off.