The Lexington area's job market is expected to be the strongest in the nation in the second quarter, says a recently released report by Manpower employment agency.
The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey found 28 percent of companies surveyed locally expect to hire in the quarter. Four percent expect to have layoffs.
That yielded a "net employment outlook," as Manpower calls it, of 24 percent, which was tops for U.S. metropolitan areas.
An additional 65 percent of local firms expected to maintain current staffing levels, and 3 percent were not sure of their plans.
"Employers are significantly more confident about hiring plans for the second quarter ... compared to the (first quarter) when the Net Employment Outlook was 4 percent" Manpower spokeswoman Maggie Coats said in a statement.
At that time, 15 percent expected to hire and 11 percent expected layoffs.
A year ago, the survey showed 14 percent of Lexington-area firms planned to hire while 7 percent expected cuts.
Almost all sectors of the regional economy were bullish on hiring, the report said.
"That forecast is encouraging, but I believe we can do better in terms of job creation," Mayor Jim Gray said. "I'm not sure people in Lexington believe the recession is over, and based on recent numbers, I would tend to agree."
The report is based on surveys of more than 18,000 employers nationwide. At the national level, 16 percent expected staff increases, while 6 percent anticipated cuts. The survey's margin of error is 3.9 percent.