RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Fewer companies are planning to hire new workers, but the jobs prospects still look good, according to a new Manpower Employment Outlook Survey released this week.

In Raleigh, 37 percent of firms surveyed say they plan to add to their workforce this fall.

In Atlanta, 30 percent of firms are looking to hire.

Greenville, SC leads the region in job demand with 47 percent of firms looking to hire.

Nationwide, 28 percent of the 16,000 firms surveyed plan to expand payrolls while 7 percent plan cutbacks.

“The seasonably adjusted employment outlook for the final months of 2004 is the same as it was in both the second and third quarters,” Manpower said. “Although the job forecast has not changed for three quarters, it is decidedly stronger than it was a year ago when the outlook was half as strong.”

Manpower notes that in general hiring plans are not as robust as those indicated by a third-quarter survey but they do tend to be higher than those reported last year.

“The Atlanta area employment outlook is weaker than the third quarter forecast when 40 percent of the companies interviewed intended to take on more staff, while 2 percent planned to decrease headcount,” said Beth Herman in Manpower’s Atlanta office. But she noted that last year the head count expansion percentage stood at 25 percent and 7 percent planned to make layoffs.

In Raleigh, Jeff Stocks of Manpower said the “employment outlook is significantly weaker than the third quarter forecast when 47 percent of the companies interviewed intended to take on more staff. He noted that a year ago the same percentage of companies planned to hire.

Thirty-eight percent of surveyed Charlotte firms plan to increased workers while 17 percent plan cutbacks.

The regions planning the greatest cutbacks include Greensboro (27 percent), Wilmington (20 percent), and Savannah (13 percent).

In Atlanta, the hottest jobs are in construction, durable goods manufacturing, transportation and public utilities, wholesale and retail trade and services.

In Raleigh, the most demand is for durable and non-durable goods manufacturing and transportation and public utilities.

Here is Manpower’s breakdown for hiring plans in Georgia:

  • Albany, 13 percent

  • Athens, 20 percent

  • Atlanta, 30 percent

  • Augusta, 23 percent

  • Columbus, 33 percent

  • Macon, 40 percent

  • Savannah, 23 percent

  • State average: 27 percent
  • Here is Manpower’s breakdown for hiring plans in North Carolina:

  • Asheville, 33 percent

  • Catawba County Area, 23 percent

  • Charlotte, 38 percent

  • Durham, 10 percent

  • Fayetteville, 30 percent

  • Gastonia, 18 percent

  • Greensboro, 13 percent

  • Greenville, 20 percent

  • High Point, 20 percent

  • Raleigh, 37 percent

  • Rocky Mount, 18 percent

  • Shelby, 38 percent

  • Wilmington, 20 percent

  • Winston-Salem, 36 percent

  • Statewide: 26 percent
  • Here is Manpower’s hiring breakdown for South Carolina:

  • Aiken, 17 percent

  • Anderson, 34 percent

  • Columbia, 23 percent

  • Florence, 37 percent

  • Greenville, 47 percent

  • Greenwood, 33 percent

  • Hartsville, 27 percent

  • Laurens County, 30 percent

  • Myrtle Beach, 30 percent

  • Spartanburg, 18 percent

  • Statewide: 30 percent