Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Survey Shows Local Employers Ready to Expand Workforce

Survey Shows Local Employers Ready to Expand Workforce
By Ines Bebea

FAIRFIELD- Employment opportunities may be on the rise, as local employers are planning to hire more employees over the next six months, according to a survey conducted by the Bay Area Council.

The quarterly survey, which polled 553 top executives from the nine counties in the Bay Area, assessed their hiring plans and overall business confidence.

Highlights include that 44 percent of the respondents said they will increase their workforce, 47 percent will keep their workforce stable, and only 6 percent said they will decrease their workforce.

The confidential survey was conducted from Jan. 17 through Feb. 5 by the Bay Area Council, a think tank that develops and drives regional public policy initiatives and researches infrastructure issues; McKinsey & Company, an international management consulting firm, and Evans/McDonough, an opinion research and strategic consulting firm.

The best economic outlook responses came from the San Mateo County market, where 58 percent of the top executives and CEOs predict that they will be hiring and none foresee any layoffs in sight. For Solano and Contra Costa counties, the increase in jobs will be below the average, with only 38 percent of employers planning to hire new employees and 7 percent planning workforce reductions.

"Unemployed workers are becoming the new endangered species in the Bay Area," said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council in a statement. "Our region has a lower unemployment rate than either California or the United States. As a a hub of the global economy, much rests on our local, state and federal governments' policies to feed the demand for workers by ramping up local worker retraining program, reforming immigration laws to bring the best and brightest workers worldwide to the area and new housing opportunities for all income levels."

While the majority of companies across all industries will be hiring, the best jobs prospects are in construction and transportation sectors. Fifty-seven percent of the executives predicted that their companies will be growing and none will be shrinking.

The economic outlook of the CEOs was based on their high confidence in the economy, with 52 percent saying that the local economy will improve in the next six months, while 8 percent predicted a decline.

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or ibebea@dailyrepublic.net.

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