By Nick Zieminski
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The hiring outlook has improved over the last three months in most large economies, including the United States, but employers could quickly turn cautious if a crisis erupted, according to a survey by employment services company ManpowerGroup.
Job seekers in 23 of 41 economies surveyed can expect a faster pace of hiring in the second quarter than in the first. Prospects have worsened in 11 markets, including Greece, Spain and Italy, where more employers expect to cut jobs than to add them, according to the poll.
Milwaukee-based Manpower does business in 80 countries and territories and generates most of its sales and profit outside the United States. Its quarterly survey is considered a leading indicator of labor market trends, used by economists, the European Commission and the Bank of England.
The strongest job outlook is in the developing economies of Latin America and Asia, according to the survey.
"Emerging markets are where the hiring is coming from," Manpower Chief Executive Jeff Joerres said.
Globally, the strongest hiring plans are in India, where nearly six out of 10 employers in the services sector will add workers in the coming months.
Hiring plans in China are more muted than a year ago but are up from the first quarter.
Preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil are creating more openings there. The World Cup is seen addling 700,000 jobs in Brazil, according to Manpower. "Their wages are higher than most emerging countries," Joerres said. "They could have a very solid three- to five-year run."
STEADY HIRING IN GERMANY
In Europe, a credit crisis focused on Greece is curtailing hiring plans in the finance sector, as banks move to preserve capital. France, Belgium and the Netherlands showed weaker hiring outlooks compared with the first quarter.
The outlook in Germany is steady. German manufacturing is benefiting from Asian demand and exports to the United States, Joerres said, citing BMW and Daimler AG's Mercedes brand as examples.
Manpower's survey measures the difference between employers who say they will add jobs and those planning cuts. For example, in Germany, 11 percent of employers expect to boost headcount while 4 percent will cut and 84 percent expect no change. The resulting net employment outlook is a seasonally adjusted plus-9, unchanged from the first quarter.
In Germany, so many employers are having trouble finding qualified workers that a tight labor market could turn into an economic headwind, Manpower said.
In the United States, the seasonally adjusted net employment outlook is plus-10, the highest reading since the fourth quarter of 2008, marking a 1-point increase from the first quarter. U.S. job creators have outnumbered those cutting jobs for 10 consecutive quarters. Construction is the only U.S. sector with a negative outlook.
Manpower's U.S. survey dates to 1962 and is based on interviews with more than 18,000 employers. Its December survey indicated an improving U.S. jobs picture, which proved accurate. U.S. payrolls have grown by more than 200,000 jobs in each of the past three months.
Compared with a year earlier, the United States is one of 13 economies where the outlook is improved, while prospects are down in 24 economies. according to the survey.
Employers are unwilling to hire ahead of demand for their goods and services, and the relatively upbeat jobs outlook could quickly change if a new global crisis emerged, such as a conflict with Iran.
"If there is a global issue, you will see hiring slow down very quickly." Joerres said. "Iran easily could be a major issue."
(Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York; editing by John Wallace)