It appears that both the hiring climate in Canada and the weather are warming up as summer approaches, says John Clinkard, economist for Reed Construction Data, Norcross, Ga. According to the Bank of Canada's Spring Business Outlook Survey, the net percentage of firms planning to add staff over the next 12 months remained at a high level. This reflects firms' continuing intentions to expand workforces to meet an anticipated strengthening in demand for their products, according to Clinkard.

The outlook for a strengthening job market was reinforced by the most recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey of more than 1,900 employers in Canada, undertaken in the second quarter of 2010. According to Manpower, the net percentage of employers planning to add staff increased from 7% in the second quarter to 10% in the third quarter, and was just slightly below 11%, the level it reached in the first quarter.

In the third quarter, hiring plans were stronger in six of the 10 major industrial categories surveyed by Manpower, unchanged in one and weaker in the remaining three. In the mining industry, the net percentage of firms planning to add staff increased from +16% to +19%, the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Consistent with the recent strength in both residential and non-residential building permits, net hiring plans in construction increased from +12% to +15% in Q3/2010, a six-month high, according to Clinkard. Reflecting the steady uptrend in consumer spending over the past four quarters, net hiring plans in wholesale and retail trade moved solidly higher to +13% in the third quarter. And the hiring plans of durable-goods manufacturers stood at +12% in Q3, compared to +4% in the second quarter and -21% in Q3/2009.

Regionally, hiring plans in Western Canada and the Atlantic Region were above the national average (+10%). Ontario was about even with the overall Canada figure. In Quebec, where the net percentage of employers planning to add staff stood at a modest +6%, hiring plans appeared relatively weak.