December 29. 2011 2:00AM - Last modified: March 15. 2012 12:07PM

Employers optimistic in QPS survey


Employers in Wisconsin and Illinois are cautiously optimistic about 2012, according to the QPS Employment Group's First Quarter Forecasting Survey.
According to the survey, 40 percent of employers expect business to improve in the first quarter, while 52 percent expect business to remain the same. Combined, 92 percent believe business will be as strong or better in the first quarter. Only 8 percent expect business to decline.
Brookfield-based QPS surveyed more than 180 companies including manufacturers, banks, printers, distributors and information technology firms throughout Wisconsin and Illinois as part of its employment forecasting survey.
"In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2011, employers are slightly more optimistic when it comes to business conditions and hiring trends," according to Dan McNulty, chief operating officer of QPS. "We are experiencing an increase as companies decide to add temporary employees to control their labor costs. Another interesting fact to note is the increase in those who believe in the shortage of skilled labor. "Seventy percent believe so, up from 56 percent in the fourth quarter."
According to the survey, 41 percent expect to increase hiring in the first quarter, while 50 percent say their staffing levels will remain the same and only 9 percent foresee a decrease in hiring.
Forty-one percent will increase the wages paid to their employees in 2012, while 57 percent will keep wages the same and only 2 percent will decrease wages.
When asked about the biggest issues facing their companies, 66 percent cited the overall economy; 43 percent cited a lack of skilled/qualified employees; 37 percent cited insurance costs; 33 percent cited material costs; and 20 percent cited government regulations.