Employment prospects for first three months of 2012 tie for best in the nation. Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 1:39 p.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
WINTER HAVEN | the employment outlook in the Lakeland-Winter Haven job market for the first three months of 2012 is the best in the nation, according to a national employment survey released Tuesday.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, which measures employers' intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforce each quarter, rated the area's net employment outlook at 17 percent.
That ties the Lakeland-Winter Haven area with the Cape Coral-Fort Myers market for the best rating in the nation.
The Manpower Group, which releases the quarterly report, calculates net employment outlook by taking the percentage of employers planning to hire new employees and subtracting the number of employers planning to decrease their staff.
The survey reports that 20 percent of Lakeland and Winter Haven employers are planning to increase the size of their staff in the first three months of 2012.
But statistics don't impress Jennifer Hatfield, 45, of Lakeland, who moved from Orlando to take a pharmaceutical sales job only to be laid off for a second time.
"I just ignore (news like this). I can only see what's right in front of me, that Jan. 5 my rent is due or else it will be late," Hatfield said.
"All (the unemployed) care about is finding that job they need to pay their bills."
The report said only 3 percent of Lakeland and Winter Haven employers plan to decrease their staffs, and 73 percent plan to maintain their staffing levels. four percent were undecided.
The expected increase in hiring early next year will likely reduce Polk County's unemployment rate of 11.3 percent, said Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bob Gernert.
"I don't know how much," Gernert said. "But that is certainly a very strong number compared to the other cities nationally.
"It was certainly gratifying to be on that side of the chart this time."
The county's jobless rate fell from 12 percent in September thanks to Legoland Florida, which opened in Winter Haven in October and employs more than 1,000 people.
There also was a drop in the size of the county's available labor force because some job seekers stopped actively looking for work.
Local unemployment data for November will be released Friday.
The national net employment outlook according to the report is 5 percent for the nation with 14 percent planning to hire and 9 percent planning to reduce staff.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey is based on interviews with 18,000 employers located in the U.S.
[ Ryan Little can be reached at email@example.com or 863-401-6962. ]
<a href="http://www.theledger.com/article/20111213/NEWS/111219726/1001/BUSINESS?Title=Survey-Polk-Job-Outlook-Best-in-Nationtag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.theledger.com/article/20111213/NEWS/111219726/1001/BUSINESS?Title=Survey-Polk-Job-Outlook-Best-in-NationWed, 14 Dec 2011 06:34:55 GMT">Survey: Polk Job Outlook Best in Nation