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Link in to Lincoln: March Update on the South

As the first quarter nears its close, the employment outlook in the South continues to be a positive one. Twenty-one percent of Southern employers say they will increase staffing levels in the second quarter, while only 4 percent indicate they will reduce employee headcount, according to a new survey from ManpowerGroup. Those numbers have remained largely steady over recent surveys from the firm.

At the same time, the South’s manufacturing sector continues to bustle. The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index climbed to 60.5 in February, its highest reading in nearly a year and a whopping 14.9-point increase from December’s number, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. A score above 50 means the sector is growing, while one below indicates it’s contracting.

Furthermore, builders of new single-family homes, both in the South and across the country, remain confident in the health of their industry. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index registered scores of 53 and 54 for the entire United States and the South, respectively, this month. A score above 50 means a majority of surveyed builders believe sales conditions are good.

The trends discussed above are illuminated in more detail in the infographics below.