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Canadian hiring outlook warmest in the West

One-fifth, or 21 per cent of employers surveyed, plan to boost payrolls in the April-to-June quarter while 5 per cent anticipate cutbacks.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Canadian employers see a steady hiring climate in the coming quarter, led by upbeat expectations in the mining and energy sectors.

A fifth, or 21 per cent of employers surveyed, plan to boost payrolls in the April-to-June quarter while 5 per cent anticipate cutbacks. About 72 per cent of employers expect to keep current staffing levels and 2 per cent are unsure, shows Manpower's employment outlook survey, to be released Tuesday.

Its net employment outlook is 13 per cent, seasonally adjusted, down a notch from 14 per cent in the previous quarter and unchanged from last year.

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The outlook comes as Canada's labour market remains tepid, with little job creation since last summer. Over the past year, most employment gains have been in natural resources along with the food and accommodation sector, according to Statistics Canada's latest labour force survey.

Utilities, agriculture and manufacturing have seen the biggest percentage declines.

The staffing agency's quarterly survey of 1,900 Canadian employers shows that mining, transportation, retail trade and construction have the most positive hiring plans for the coming quarter. It ties the pickup in the retail sector to expansions at Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Home Depot Inc., along with U.S.-based Target Corp.'s planned entry next year.

Among regions, optimism about hiring is strongest in Western Canada and weakest in Ontario.

A brightening economic picture in the United States may also be driving confidence in Canada, said Janis Sugar, Manpower's director of marketing.

Among cities, Calgary has the country's most positive hiring climate, followed by Red Deer, Alta., Richmond-Delta, B.C., Regina, and Niagara Falls (the latter stemming from a ramp-up in hiring plans tied to tourism, Ms. Sugar said). Belleville, Ont., Surrey, B.C., and Winnipeg have the softest hiring intentions.

Worldwide, employers in 32 of the 41 countries Manpower surveyed see some positive hiring activity for the second quarter. Expectations are rosiest in India, Brazil, Taiwan, Peru and Turkey. Greece, Spain and the Czech Republic have the weakest intentions.

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About the Author

Tavia Grant has worked at The Globe and Mail since early 2005, covering topics from employment and currency markets to trade, microfinance and Latin American economies. She previously worked for Bloomberg News in Toronto and Zurich, writing on mining, stocks, currencies and secret Swiss bank accounts. More

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