Manufacturing jobs outlook at 10-year low

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Job prospects are at their lowest level for 10 years, according to a report out yesterday from Manpower, the UK's leading recruitment company.

Job prospects are at their lowest level for 10 years, according to a report out yesterday from Manpower, the UK's leading recruitment company.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which calculates the net percentage of employers intending to increase staff, predicts a 12 per cent increase across the UK in the fourth quarter, the lowest level for a final quarter since 1993.

Agriculture is the only sector to show a net decrease, but most of the sectors surveyed showed reductions from both last quarter and last year - evidence of an overall drop in employer confidence.

The manufacturing sector showed a rise in organisations planning to take on staff of just 7 per cent compared with 14 per cent last quarter and 18 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2002. This follows figures out on Thursday from the CBI showing that manufacturing order books for the final quarter had weakened significantly.

The construction sector provides the strongest prospects with a 22 per cent increase in staffing levels predicted for the fourth quarter, unchanged from last quarter. Scotland was the UK region with the least confidence in job prospects, with just 4 per cent predicted employment growth. The East Midlands topped the survey with 26 per cent.

Manpower interviewed 2,500 employers in the UK over a four-day period. The survey is widely used in industry and government, including the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee.

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