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Area firms expect to add jobs in 2005

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Area firms expect to add jobs in 2005

Half of Oakland companies say they will hire workers, mostly in tech sector.

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By Karen Dybis / The Detroit News

Some Metro Detroit employers say they expect to boost hiring during the first quarter, demonstrating new optimism about Michigan's economy for the coming year.

Nearly half of Oakland County companies interviewed for Manpower's Employment Outlook Survey released today said they plan to hire workers during the first quarter of 2005, while only 3 percent said they plan to reduce their staff. Oakland County ranked among the top 10 markets in the United States for job growth.

In Wayne County, 33 percent of companies interviewed said they plan to hire, while in Macomb County 28 percent of firms said they would be hiring after January.

Manpower predicts first-quarter growth in manufacturing, finance, insurance, real estate and retail. Other sectors are expected to remain flat, the survey said.

Among those businesses adding to their payrolls is Commercial First Roofing in St. Clair Shores. Owner and President Ed Ledford said he expects to add two crew supervisors to his staff with average wages of about $45,000 annually.

With those managers in place, the roofing company hopes to add another two-person repair crew and a larger 10-person roofing crew, Ledford said.

Ledford said he finds job candidates have unrealistic expectations. Some have asked for more than $25 an hour, a wage that Ledford said disappeared during the state's recession.

"Those are old-fashioned wages," Ledford said. "If we bid jobs high enough to pay those wages, we would not have any business."

In the tech sector, Cindy Hupfel is looking to hire at least six inside sales representatives in the first part of 2005. Hupfel is the sales manager for Dynamic Computer Corp., a Farmington Hills-based information technology services and solutions provider.

"We can't grow our business unless we have more talent in here," Hupfel said.

Nationwide, 24 percent of surveyed employers told Manpower they will increase their hiring from January through March. About 10 percent said they will reduce their work forces, 59 percent see no changes and 7 percent were uncertain.

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