The first three months of 2004 could be very good or very bad for job seekers, depending on where in Iowa they’re located. A survey by Manpower Incorporated of employers in 11 major communities statewide finds pockets of planned firings in the first quarter and several areas where there’ll be hiring, according Manpower spokesman Mike Lynch. Lynch says job prospects are really good through the center of the state — in Des Moines, Marshalltown and Mason City. Elsewhere, the picture is not nearly as bright. Lynch says the prospects are much more “gloomy” in Sioux City, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities. He says the overall chances of finding a job in Iowa during January, February or March are not so great. Employers were asked if they planned to add to their staff, decrease numbers or remain the same. The following communities had an anticipated net decrease: Burlington, three-percent; Cedar Rapids, 16-percent; Quad Cities, four-percent; Muscatine, seven-percent; and Sioux City had the worst job prospects in the state with an anticipated net job decrease of 23-percent. These communities anticipate a net increase in jobs in the first quarter: Des Moines, 13-percent; Iowa City, four-percent; and Marshalltown and Mason City, both 17-percent. In Ottumwa, seven-percent of employers surveyed expected to do hiring while seven-percent expect to do some firing, putting the town even on the Manpower survey. Waterloo was the same, with 23-and-23. Overall, Iowa employers plan to fire one-percent more workers than they’ll hire in the first quarter, slightly below the national average.
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