Expectations for companies to hire new workers in the last quarter of this year have dropped in all sectors and are at the lowest level in recent years, the consultant company Manpower reported on its Costa Rica Employment Outlook Survey 4Q released Tuesday.
Figures for the next three months fell to their lowest levels since 2009.
Recruitment is almost stagnant, as only 10 percent of employers plan to increase their workforce, while 5 percent plan to reduce it, and 85 percent will keep current staff unchanged for the next three months.
Employer forecasts declined in five of the six industry sectors forecast.
The manufacturing sector reported the most optimism with a net employment increase of 9 percent forecast.
Services, transport and communications (one category), agriculture, and commerce showed a positive outlook ranging from 1-9 percent. Construction employers report a negative outlook of -1 percent.
Results by province show the most optimism in coastal provinces, with Puntarenas and Limón expecting a net employment outlook of 7 percent, followed by Alajuela, Cartago and Guanacaste with 6 percent. Employers in Heredia and San José anticipate the least hiring with an outlook of 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Manpower surveyed 623 employers across Costa Rica. The analysis concluded the decline is due to caution because of the country’s fiscal deficit, an increase in the national budget for 2015, and a spike in informal employment.
ManpowerGroup Central America Commercial Director Eric Quesada said employers in Costa Rica are growing increasingly cautious.
“This may be for two reasons,” he said. “First, the country is in an adjustment period after experiencing growth in past quarters, and second, employers also are waiting to see how the new administration’s policies will impact their business strategies and payroll decisions.”