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Survey: Mixed news on hiring

Only 11 percent of employers planning to expand workforce

One third of all employers plan to hire within six months, according to a survey released Monday by the Oregon Employment Department.

The results are not all good news for the economy, however.

According to the department's third Future Hiring Survey, only 11 percent of employers plan to hire to increase their work force or return to pre-recession levels. The largest number - 19 percent - plan to hire due to anticipated employee turnover. Normal seasonal hiring patterns account for another 9 percent, the department says.

In addition, 14 percent of employers expect their payrolls to shrink and two-thirds of companies anticipate no change in their current employment level within the next six months. Some employers gave multiple answers.

The department conducting the survey in the fall of 2011. Employers were asked in which occupations they plan to hire. The three most common occupational groups named by respondents were: office and administrative support; food preparation and serving related; and sales and related occupations.

Among the occupational groups named least by employers were: computer and mathematical; legal; life, physical, and social science; and protective service occupations.

When asked why they may not hire any workers within six months, 51 percent of employers mentioned the general economy and 37 percent specifically cited the recent recession. A smaller share - 14 percent - indicated issues related to government, such as high taxes, excessive regulations, or state budget cuts, may prevent hiring.

Roughly 29 percent of respondents shared other reasons for not hiring, such as the seasonal nature of their work or currently having adequate staff. Five percent of respondents said a lack of qualified applicants may prevent them from hiring.

The full report is available on the Oregon Employment Department's workforce and economic information web site at www.QualityInfo.org/pubs/future/future_hiring3.pdf.