BROOKFIELD, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's largest employment sector is expected to grow in the next three months.
QPS of Brookfield says manufacturers are more optimistic about their hiring trends than they were in the last quarter.
A survey by QPS shows that 41 percent of 184 manufacturers plan to add jobs from January through March -- especially in machine shops and metal fabricating. 9 percent of industrial firms expect layoffs, most notably in paper and commercial printing.
Wisconsin's job recovery has lagged behind the nation as a whole, but Mark Immekus of QPS says metal-working industries have added jobs throughout the last year.
The survey shows that 40 percent of manufacturers expect the economy to grow between now and the end of March. 15 percent expect a decline.
About two-thirds say the economy has impeded their growth. But 43 percent say they have a hard time finding qualified workers -- especially machinists and welders.
Most of the industries QPS surveys are from Wisconsin, but a few are from Illinois. The average company has almost 90 employees.