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Manpower’s quarterly survey shows 13 per cent of Canadian employers plan to add to payrolls in the January-to-March period while 8 per cent see reductions.Aaron Lynett/The Canadian Press

Canadian employers see steady hiring in the coming quarter, with those in Western Canada showing the brightest outlook – though many of the new jobs are expected to be in lower-paying positions.

Manpower's quarterly survey shows 13 per cent of Canadian employers plan to add to payrolls in the January-to-March period while 8 per cent see reductions. The majority – or 78 per cent – expect to maintain current staffing levels. The net employment outlook was 12 per cent, up from 10 per cent in the prior quarter and little changed from a year earlier.

Canadian employment has generally been rising at a slow-but-steady pace. Job gains this year have averaged 13,400 a month, slower than last year's pace of 25,400 per month, Statistics Canada said Friday. Alberta has tallied the fastest employment growth in percentage terms over the past year.

"It's a steady hiring climate for the first quarter," said Michelle Dunnill, Toronto-based spokesperson for the staffing agency.

That said, "many of the gains are expected to occur in lower-paying sectors" such as retail, she added. "From a national level, we're seeing a lot of jobs more at the entry level or junior level ... So it's not necessarily senior-level jobs in the finance sector, for example."

Construction has the strongest outlook among sectors, followed by manufacturers of durable goods along with retail and wholesale trade. The weakest outlook for the first quarter, nationally, is in transportation and public utilities.

The survey of more than 1,900 employers in Canada shows hiring plans are strongest in Western Canada and weakest in Quebec. Ontario and Atlantic Canada have modest hiring plans.