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Jun 13, 2012 7:55 PM by Matt Stafford

Hiring optimism at highest level in years for Colorado Springs

More companies are planning to hire this coming quarter; 92 percent of U.S. employers say they'll either increase or make no changes. The latest report from the Manpower Group marks 11 straight quarters of positive hiring outlook.

For the Pike Peak region, economists say the hiring numbers being forecasted for this summer are the best we've seen in several years; the people at Manpower agree.

"What we found is 28 percent of the companies here in Colorado Springs are expecting to increase their staff while only seven percent are expecting to decrease, and 64 percent staying about the same," says Wendy Coensgen, a Colorado Springs branch manager for Manpower Group. One percent said they didn't know what they were going to do.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Jesse Russow's roofing and construction company -- Avalanche Roofing and Exteriors. Granted, it can be seasonal work, but even before last week's storm Russow was looking at a good summer.

"Before the storm we were planning on adding one to two fulltime positions; now with the storms were looking to expand that to two to four," says Russow, who's owned the company in Colorado Springs for the last five years.

But, as the Manpower survey points out, not everyone is in that spot.

Local high school teacher Todd Matia has a business on the side, and it's one that's staying about the same size for now. It's an online tutoring program, called Stinky Kid Math (www.StinkyKidMath.com). He's hiring freelancers here and there, but he needs things to shift before he starts adding more permanent staff.

"Getting more of a base to where we can build up our initial funding, so we can actually afford to do more production," says Matia. That would help him put more tutorial videos online and expand the site.

"It's expensive, and so you need money to do that," says Matia. For now he's doing what he can for his product; big changes will take some patience, but that's the goal.

As for Russow, the roofing company owner; even though he's in a spot where he's ready to hire, he's still hesitant. He wants to make sure he's able to support each job because given the seasonal nature of his work Russow wants to be sure he can support the employee even if the work slows down.

"I think anybody out there who is willing to do what it takes to get a job will see results, and you know it's going to be tough; it's going to be hard, but you know, as American's we've got to keep our heads up and put one foot in front of the other," says Russow. That's what he's doing; putting one foot in front of the other to get another job done and keep his business growing. He says work from last week's heavy hail and rain could keep coming in for a year or two.

U.C.C.S. Forum economist Fred Crowley, who's not a part of the Manpower study, says the study doesn't give the best look at the number of jobs coming to the area, but it's a good indicator of which direction we're heading. Crowley says El Paso County needs about 30,000 new jobs to return to what's called the normal unemployment rate -- about four or five percent.

For more on the Manpower study, click here.

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