Most employers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia do not have aggressive plans to increase hiring for the fourth quarter, according to the latest quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

After comparing the percentage of companies that plan to increase hiring, those that plan to cut payrolls and those who anticipate no change, the overall outlook is a “softer hiring conditions” than in the third quarter, Manpower said.

Manpower also noted that its survey was completed before Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Florida and Alabama.

Overall, payrolls are expected to increase at a net 19 percent of North Carolina firms, 17 percent in Georgia and 15 percent in South Carolina.

“Employers in the Raleigh area expect much softer hiring conditions than in the third quarter when 53 percent of the companies interviewed intended to add staff,” said Jeff Stocks, a spokesperson for Manpower in Raleigh. The percentage of firms planning to increase hiring is 27 percent. Ten percent plan cutbacks.

In Atlanta, some 27 percent of firms plan to add headcount but 10 percent indicated they would reduce payrolls.

In Columbia, 17 percent of firms plan to add workers, down from 20 percent in the previous quarter.

The hottest cities for job growth include Asheville, Savannah and Greenville SC.

The net job increase outlook for North Carolina:

Asheville, 30 percent

Catawba County Area, 23 percent

Charlotte, 23 percent

Durham, 20 percent

Fayetteville, 17 percent

Gastonia, 17 percent

Greensboro, 16 percent

Greenville, 20 percent

Raleigh, 17 percent

Rocky Mount, 25 percent

Shelby, 13 percent

Wilmington, 3 percent

Winston-Salem, 24 percent

State overall, 19 percent

The net job increase outlook in Georgia:

Albany, 23 percent

Athens, 6 percent

Atlanta, 17 percent

Augusta, 4 percent

Columbus, 16 percent

Macon, 26 percent

Savannah, 27 percent

State overall, 17 percent

The net job increase outlook in South Carolina:

Aiken, 6 percent

Anderson, 27 percent

Columbia, 14 percent

Florence, 10 percent

Greenville, 32 percent

Greenwood, 13 percent

Hartsville, 10 percent

Laurens County, 20 percent

Myrtle beach, 3 percent

Spartanburg, 20 percent

State overall, 15 percent

For complete survey results, see: