EK: According to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, 2014 is going to start off strong when it comes to hiring.

Business owners are planning to start off 2014 on the right foot--the “help wanted” one, according to a new survey.

According to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, first-quarter hiring plans are at the highest level since 2008.

While hiring plans are on the rise, the majority of employers say they’re not rocking the boat: 73% of the 18,000 employers surveyed say they plan to maintain staff levels. Seventeen percent are adding jobs, and 7% are laying off workers; so seasonally adjusted, the net Outlook lands at 13%.

“Employers remain optimistic and continue to gradually improve their hiring projections despite the uneven economic recovery and other global and domestic influences,” said ManpowerGroup president Jonas Prising in a statement released Tuesday.

Twelve of the 13 industries measured by the Manpower survey report positive hiring plans, with leisure/hospitality and wholesale/retail trade leading the pack. The survey finds that only employers in the transportation and utilities sector predict they will decrease their staff numbers in the first quarter of 2014.

The 18,000 employers surveyed by Manpower represent the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., as well as all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

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