The latest survey of Iowa employers by Manpower Incorporated bodes well for the first three months of the new year. Spokesman Mike Lynch says if their predictions are right, the jobless rate may fall in the first quarter of 2005. Lynch says “For the state of Iowa, we’re actually anticipating some relatively robust hiring activity. Specifically, the Quad Cities are looking very positive, Mason City area, Ottumwa and Waterloo are looking at particularly good increases.” While the majority of employers statewide plan to do more hiring than firing in the first quarter, Lynch says some cities are in the negative numbers. Lynch says Cedar Rapids area employers plan more layoffs than hiring and there’s also a net-decrease in hiring activity planned in Iowa City and Sioux City. He says many Iowa employers hired on extra help for the holiday crunch, and it’s typical that many of those workers are let go when the new year arrives. Lynch says the first quarter usually is not as robust for hiring activity as employers lay workers off in the new year, adding, the numbers this year look much like those from one year ago.