Opportunities for job seekers during the last three months of the year will be lower than those reported for the current quarter, a survey by consulting firm Manpower found.
The company this week released the results of its Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2016. Research found that 11 percent of private-sector employers in Costa Rica are planning to hire more staff in the upcoming quarter.
But 84 percent said they will maintain their staff unchanged, while 4 percent are considering layoffs.
The country’s net employment outlook — the difference between the percentage of employers who anticipate hiring and those expecting layoffs — for the quarter is 9 percent.
That is two percentage points lower than that recorded in the current quarter and five percentage points lower than the outlook for the same quarter last year.
Gabriela Chaverri, Manpower manager in Costa Rica, said those results represent “cautiously optimistic hiring plans.”
Commerce on the rise
The survey found hiring expectations decreased in most economic sectors, though not for employers in the commerce and telecommunications sectors.
Companies in the commerce sector showed an increase of 3 percent from the previous quarter, “likely prompted by the Free Trade Agreement signed with Colombia in August,” Chaverri said.
Businesses from the telecommunications sector showed a 2 percent increase, possibly driven by the authorization to operate here granted in May to U.S. telecom giant AT&T, she added.
Chaverri said hiring expectations could improve in the future thanks to various ongoing local and international commerce projects.
Among them are benefits expected from the country’s acceptance in the Pacific Alliance, a trade bloc created by Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia.
Countries of the Pacific Alliance represent a market of 214 million people with an average per capita GDP of up to $14,000 per year, the Foreign Trade Ministry reported.
Results by province
Manpower’s survey also found that employers in the Central Valley showed the most optimistic hiring outlook for the upcoming quarter.
The best hiring intentions in the next three months are from employers in Heredia and Cartago provinces. Hiring expectations are 19 percent for employers in Heredia and of 11 percent for Cartago.
On the other hand, employers in coastal provinces are the most pessimistic.
Employers in Guanacaste showed a negative hiring expectation of -1 percent, while those in Limón and Puntarenas don’t expect any changes for the remainder of the year.
Manpower surveyed 620 employers in all seven provinces.