Nearly a third of Columbus employers plan to add staff over the last three months of this year, according to a Manpower survey released Tuesday.
While 30 percent of companies interviewed by the staffing agency expect to hire more workers during the October-December timeframe, 10 percent plan to reduce their payrolls.
"Compared to one year ago when 30 percent of companies surveyed planned to increase staff levels and none expected to cut payrolls, hiring intentions for the fourth quarter are weaker," said Manpower spokeswoman Shelia Durham.
The survey also noted that 53 percent of employers expect to keep staff levels as they are, while 7 percent are not sure what they will do on the hiring or firing front.
In the third quarter of this year, only 14 percent of firms were adding workers, while 3 percent were cutting back.
The Columbus metro area registered a 7 percent unemployment rate in July. The Georgia Department of Labor will release August numbers in two weeks.
Nationally, only 22 percent of the 14,000 employers surveyed by Manpower plan to add workers in the coming quarter. About 13 percent will cut payrolls, with 59 percent remaining steady and 6 percent undecided.
Much of the late-year hiring will likely come in the service sector, when retailers add staff to handle the holiday-shopping crush.
"The continuing softness in hiring activity comes as no surprise as weakening market conditions are causing many companies to carefully adjust their hiring in line with the demand for their product or service,” said Jeffrey Joerres, Manpower chairman and chief executive officer.