Don't expect a hiring boom any time soon

In fact, hiring may not be as good as it has been this quarter — when the net result was a loss of 62,000 jobs since the start of the year.  The latest global survey from Manpower shows American employers slightly less willing to hire new workers, with three-quarters of them planning to maintain their status quo instead for the spring.  The rest of the world has a brighter outlook (via DogSoldier):

U.S. employers are slightly less willing to hire workers in the coming quarter than they were three months ago, even as hiring intentions improved in most other countries and territories, especially in Asia, according to a quarterly survey by Manpower.

Its U.S. survey renewed questions about the pace and sustainability of a forecasted U.S. jobs recovery, and whether eventual jobs creation will make much of a dent in the ranks of unemployed, which now number some 17 million Americans.

The global employment services company said Tuesday its seasonally adjusted U.S. net employment outlook was plus-5 for the second quarter, down slightly from plus-6 in the previous survey.

The index number comes from a calculation of businesses that plan expansions against those who plan cuts.  Seventy-three percent plan neither, preferring to wait until consumer demand rebounds.  Unfortunately, consumer demand won’t rebound until more consumers get jobs, setting up what CNBC rightly calls an economic catch-22.

How can the US break that catch-22?  In the early 1980s, the government sent strong pricing signals on taxation that encouraged capital to flow back into the markets after the double-dip recession from 1980-1982, the last time unemployment got to this level.  Not only did the Reagan administration roll back income taxes, it also lowered capital gains taxes and reduced regulation on energy production, providing the economy with cheaper energy to fuel the expansion.  George W. Bush did the same after the 2000-1 and 9/11 recession, starting a five-year expansion.

By contrast, this administration has signaled higher costs and larger tax burdens since taking office.  Employers face health-insurance mandates, capital-gains tax hikes, surtaxes, and an energy policy guaranteed to make production and transportation costs skyrocket.  Even when consumer demand starts to increase, businesses will hesitate to expand while they hedge their bets — and their cash — against the coming tax storms.

Instead of having an American expansion, it looks as though we’re going to let Asia and the rest of the world have it for us.