03/11/2014 11:57 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT

Hiring climate said to be 'modest' in coming quarter

Canadian employers expect to hire cautiously in the next three months, with job seekers more likely to have success in Western Canada than in Ontario and Quebec, according to a new survey of hiring intentions.

The latest quarterly employment outlook survey from Manpower finds that employers are forecasting only a "modest" hiring climate in the April-to-June period, with new business growth at its weakest level in five months.

Manpower's survey of more than 1,900 employers across Canada found that 16 per cent were planning to increase staffing levels, while four per cent were planning to cut them back.  

The healthiest hiring climate is in the Western provinces, with the rosiest opportunities in the construction, transportation and public utilities sectors.

- MAP: Jobless rates across the country 

"However, job growth is expected to be slower in Ontario and Quebec, with limited advances in full-time work expected for the coming quarter," said Manpower Canada vice president ByrneLuft in a statement.

Manpower said hiring intentions nationally fell two percentage points from the previous quarter to nine per cent. That represents a three percentage point drop from the outlook's forecast of a year ago. 

The weakest prospects are among manufacturers of non-durable goods.

Employment figures released last week by Statistics Canada showed a net loss of 7,000 jobs in February, with Quebec shedding 25,500 jobs.

Only 95,000 net new jobs have been created in Canada in the last year — a growth rate that is considered weak by historical standards. Job growth in the last six months has been especially weak.