LEWISTON – Time to spruce up that resume.

More than 40 percent of local businesses polled expect to hire this summer – jobs in restaurants, bakeries, dentists’ offices and on manufacturing floors.

Companies were even more optimistic about adding new employees this summer than they were last year, when Lewiston-Auburn’s rosy forecast led the state, according to a new Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

“Finally companies are feeling confident to do some hiring,” said Carol Albert, local Manpower spokeswoman. Businesses are returning to staffing levels of three or four years ago, she added. “Improvement from the recession is here.”

Four times a year the job placement company surveys 16,000 business across the United States, asking who plans to add jobs, decrease jobs or stay the same. Surveys are done in five Maine markets.

Jobs have to be considered permanent to be counted, either full- or part-time.

In L-A, 43 percent of businesses planned to increase staff, 47 percent planned to stay the same and 7 percent expected a decrease. Three percent weren’t sure.

Forty percent of Portland businesses surveyed planned to hire, compared to 47 percent in Augusta-Waterville, 11 percent in southern York County and 17 percent in Bangor.

“People are more upbeat, no question about it,” said Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. “You don’t have to be around the business community long to know they’re doing well.”

More people are already working in L-A this year.

According to the Maine Department of Labor, 53,500 had jobs in May, a gain of 1,800 over a year ago.

The unemployment rate was a full point lower, 3.4 percent, and fewer people reported looking for work with no luck.

Manpower has conducted the survey in Maine for 16 years, long enough to see cycles. Hiring here typically peaks in the summer months, Albert said. Still, “we’re predicting it’s going to be a strong fourth quarter as well.”

Last year, 33 percent of local businesses anticipated hiring people in July, August and September, and no one forecast layoffs.


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