A new survey of Iowa employers shows most plan to maintain their current staffing levels over first quarter of 2011, while a few anticipate adding to their payrolls. Kathy Joblinske is a spokesperson for Manpower, Incorporated which conducts the quarterly survey. She says 17% of the companies interviewed plan to add workers, while 11% expect layoffs.

“We’re showing a net employment outlook of 6% adding positions, which is fantastic,” Joblinske said. “There’s 71% that anticipate maintaining their current staff levels. That’s still positive, they’re not looking to decrease levels.” Overall, Iowa business owners are more optimistic about hiring plans compared to the survey taken prior to the fourth quarter of 2010. At that time, the net employment outlook was 1%. Joblinske says many companies that were hiring temporary help are now making those positions permanent.

“So, that’s a very positive sign for (Iowa), especially for the manufacturing sector,” Joblinske said. Job prospects appear best in the upcoming quarter in manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and education and health services.

Joblinske says industries that plan to reduce staffing levels include construction and financial activities. “That’s not a big surprise as we go into some seasonality with the construction industry in particular,” Joblinske said. Iowa’s net employment outlook of 6% is slightly behind the overall U.S. figure of 9%.