Phoenix employment outlook among strongest in the nation

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The employment outlook for the first quarter of 2013 is strong in the Phoenix area, according to a new survey from the Manpower Group.

"We're actually leading," said Manpower spokesman Frank Armendariz. "It is the second most positive outlook in the nation."
The report reflects optimism among employers. Eighteen hundred employers were surveyed nationwide, several hundred of those were in Phoenix. Employers were asked whether they plan to add jobs in the first quarter of 2013.
"More companies are planning to increase their staff," Armendariz said. "Actually, 23 percent of the companies here in Phoenix are planning to increase. Only 3 percent are planning a decrease."
The first quarter 2013 Net Employment outlook nationwide is the strongest in five years, according to the report. The report also anticipates an increase in hiring among retailers, who typically slow the hiring process after the holiday season.
Armendariz said in 2013, retailers could move part-time seasonal workers into full-time positions.
"We're hopeful that many of these positions will turn into longer-term positions," he said.
Job seekers should not necessarily be too hopeful, however.
"We are still in recovery mode, as far as the economy," Armendariz said. "More companies will hire, but we are still in a recovery."
Monique Davis has been looking for full-time work for a month and a half. She is currently a restaurant cook.
"I only get about 20 hours a week," Davis said. "It is just not enough to get by right now."
Davis is trying to save up enough money to move from Phoenix to New Jersey to care for her terminally ill mother. She says she has a hard time believing the positive jobs forecast.
"I don't believe it … because every place I went is not hiring anymore," she said.