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The hiring outlook for the first half of this year is optimistic, according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

The survey found that almost 8 in 10 (79%) hiring managers have a positive mindset about hiring opportunities this year, and nearly two-thirds (63%) said their company plans to increase headcount in the first half.

The top reasons for increasing headcount are to manage increased volumes of work (51%), to fill newly created positions (45%), and to fill positions that are open due to employee turnover (43%).

For companies that plan to decrease headcount, the top reasons are to reduce costs (63%), because they’re outsourcing certain functions (25%), and to align with the decline in demand at the company (24%).

And companies that don’t plan to make changes to their headcount are mostly waiting to see what will be needed or simply don’t have the budget right now. Many of these companies would prefer to reskill their current employees rather than hire new ones.

“The level of hiring optimism in the U.S. is a welcome start to the new year, especially given the volatility of the past few years,” said Bill Stoller, Express Employment International CEO. “The next piece of the puzzle is for businesses, schools, and the government to work together to create qualified applicants through training and hands-on-opportunities. Investing in solving this shortcoming will go a long way toward building a well-rounded workforce and economy.”