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More than two thirds of Romanian employers expect to keep their payrolls unchanged in Q1/2019

Hiring perspectives for the January – March 2019 interval are positive in all regions and most industry sectors, but the hiring pace is expected to slow slightly.

Approximately 1 in 5 (19%) of Romanian employers anticipate adding to their payrolls in the first quarter of 2019, while 9% anticipate decreases in the size of their workforce, according to the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the January – March 2019 interval.

The Net Employment Outlook stands at a positive +15% which, although trending slightly softer than in both Q4/2018 (by 2 percentage points) and Q1/2018 (by 1 percentage point), indicates job seekers may benefit from a steady hiring pace at the beginning of the year. However, 70% of employers anticipate no changes in the size of their payrolls, the largest percentage in over two years, which suggests the labor market is more prudent than it has been in recent quarters.

In some industry sectors, namely Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fishing, and Mining and Quarrying, the percentage of employers who do not intend any changes to their workforce is as high as 82%, but hiring perspectives continue to be favorable in all but one of the ten sectors analyzed. Employers in Manufacturing are the most optimistic and report a Net Employment Outlook of +26% that is 3 percentage point weaker than in the previous quarter, and 9 percentage points weaker than in Q1/2018. Employers in the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Business Services sector are also optimistic, reporting a +23% Net Employment Outlook which strengthens over both Q4/2018 and Q1/208, by 1, respectively 7 percentage points. Solid employment perspectives are also reported in the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector, where the Outlook for Q1/2019 stands at +20%, Transport, Storage and Communication, with an Outlook of +19%, and Construction, with an Outlook of +18%.

However, the Outlook in the Construction sector weakens significantly over Q4/2018, by 14 percentage points, and is also slightly weaker than in Q1/2018, by 2 percentage points. The most abrupt decline both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year is however reported in the Electricity, Gas and Water Supply sector, where the -11% Net Employment Outlook, the only negative one across regions and industry sectors, is 20 percentage points weaker than in the previous quarter, and 22 percentage weaker than last year at this time.

Employers in all eight regions anticipate payroll gains during the coming quarter. Employers in the South and Bucharest&Ilfov regions are the most optimistic, reporting Net Employment Outlooks of +20%. In Bucharest&Ilfov the Outlook improves by 6, respectively 3 percentage points over Q4/2018 and Q1/2018, while in the South region perspectives weaken by 7 percentage points when compared with the previous quarter but improve by 8 percentage points year-over-year. Employers in the South-East region report the least optimistic regional Net Employment Outlook of +9%, 13 percentage points weaker than in Q4/2018, but remaining relatively stable in comparison with Q1/2018.

Payroll gains are forecast across organizations of all sizes. The strongest labor market is expected by employers in the Large category, who report an Outlook of +24%, while the most cautious hiring plans are reflected in the Outlook of +4% reported by employers in micro-organizations. Perspectives soften over last quarter in three of the four size categories, most notably in medium organizations, where the +16% Net Employment Outlook is 9 percentage points weaker than in Q4/2018, and remain stable in micro-organizations.

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