Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – I sat in on a recent sermon in which the preacher hammered home one point: “Take this job and LOVE it.”

People of all faiths and those who don’t believe in a higher being can agree on one point:

If you have a job, be thankful for it even if “love” is too strong a word.

If you are like many people who work two or more jobs to make ends meet, smile every time that you punch in. A lot of hard-luck people would pay money just to have one of those jobs you are working – even if it’s part time.

The new Manpower hiring survey for the fall gives little comfort to people looking for work, even in the Triangle where our unemployment rate at just over 8 percent is under the state and national averages.

Update:Here’s more bad news …

The jobless rate will stay “close to 9 percent through the end of 2012,” the head of the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday, according to Reuters..

Two national finance executive surveys – one from Duke-CFO Magazine, out today and the other from UNC-CH along with the American Institute of CPAs released last week – indicate quite clearly that 9 percent national unemployment looks to be the new normal for the next year.

A bright spot for North Carolina has been high-tech job openings, but those have been declining in recent months, according to the North Carolina Technology Association.

So, you got a job, you better love it.

Triangle job picture

In the Raleigh-Cary metro area, the hiring outlook is described as “moderate.” Despite that word, only a net 2 percent of employers expect to add workers. While 11 percent of companies are looking to hire, 9 percent are planning cuts.

The jobs picture isn’t getting better, Manpower acknowledges.

“Hiring activity is expected to stay the same during the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to Quarter 3 when the Net Employment Outlook was 2%,” said Manpower spokesperson Michael Doyle. “Employers expect much softer employment prospects compared with one year ago when the Net Employment Outlook was 15%.”

When 2010 starts to look good economically, we are all in trouble.

Best jobs prospects are in construction, non-durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.

The statewide picture

Across North Carolina, a net 5 percent of companies plan to add workers with 15 percent adding headcount and 10 percent making cuts. That’s down from a net 8 percent the previous quarter.

A year ago, the net add jobs percentage was 8 percent.

So where are the jobs?

Durable and non-durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, “other” services and government.

How about nationally?

Manpower says a net 7 percent of companies plan to hire, down from 8 percent last quarter. A year ago, the net was plus 6.

But Manpower notes a disturbing fact:

“While the Outlook is positive overall and marginally ahead of one year ago at this time, the one point quarter-over-quarter drop is the first decrease, although slight, in nine quarters.”

As the Duke and UNC surveys pointed out, execs are too nervous to make big increases in hiring.

“Employers are hesitant to make big decisions when it comes to hiring in the fourth quarter,” said Jonas Prising, Manpower Group president of the Americas, in summing up the Manpower findings.

“Recent economic conditions, coupled with the results of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, indicate hiring intentions among U.S. employers remain guarded with a low level of job creation expected in the short term. When all eyes are focused on jobs as a true indicator for economic stability, our survey results suggest no significant hiring increases at least through year end.”

Hey, brother, one more time – If you have a job, be thankful.

Can I get a witness?

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