The employment outlook in the Des Moines-West Des Moines metropolitan statistical area has improved over the last quarter and higher than the national average, but behind the pace of a year ago, according to a report released by Manpower today.


The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for the 2nd quarter shows that 21 percent of local employers expect to increase their staff levels between April and June, and only 6 percent intend to decrease staff levels, leading to a net employment outlook of 15 percent.


That's better than the first quarter outlook, when only 17 percent expected to increase staff levels and 11 percent expected to decrease staff levels, a 6 percent net employment outlook.


A year ago, though, the numbers were more favorable. A total of 24 percent expected to increase staff levels, and only 3 percent expected to decrease staff levels, a net employment outlook of 21 percent.


The data comes from a national survey of more than 18,000 employers across 50 states and Washington, D.C. Nationally, employers are expecting a seasonally adjusted net employment outlook of 13 percent, the same as the 1st quarter and up from 11 percent a year ago. This is the third consecutive quarter with an net outlook of 13 percent, which is the strongest outlook since the 2nd quarter of 2008.


Iowa had one of the top five jobs outlooks by state.


In Des Moines, job prospects appear best in construction, durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and government. Hiring in nondurable goods manufacturing, information, financial activities, education and health services, and other services is expected to remain unchanged.