Canadian employers expect a “cautiously optimistic” hiring climate for job seekers in the fourth quarter of the year, says the latest Manpower employment survey.

“Nationally, heading into the fourth quarter of 2017, we’re seeing a general trend of modest growth,” said Manpower Canada vice president, Darlene Minatel in a news release. “Most of the hiring activity is expected to focus on Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia; however there are still some bright spots in the rest of Canada, led by an anticipated moderate uplift in the oil and gas sector.”

The survey canvassed more than 1,900 employers across the country and found that 12 per cent plan to increase their staffing levels to round out the year, while six per cent anticipate cutbacks. Eighty per cent expect their current staffing levels to remain unchanged and two per cent are unsure.

Large (with more than 250 employees) and medium (50-249 employees) organizations report the most positive hiring plans, with small organizations (10-49 employees) indicating a modest outlook of seven per cent. Micro-sized organizations (1-9 employees) expect a slow hiring pace, reporting an increase of three per cent.

Locally, depending on where you’re looking for work, the chances of landing a job ranges from “disappointing” to “positive.”

Toronto area employers expect an upbeat fourth-quarter hiring climate with 21 per cent planning to hire from October through December. Six per cent anticipate cutbacks with 72 per cent planning on maintaining their current staffing levels. One per cent are unsure.

Mississauga employers are expecting a modest hiring climate. Thirteen per cent plan to hire; three per cent anticipate cutbacks; 83 per cent will maintain current staffing levels and one per cent are unsure.

Barrie employers foresee positive numbers with 13 per cent planning to hire. Three per cent anticipate cutbacks; 80 per cent will maintain their current staffing levels and four per cent are unsure.

Brampton employers are looking for a fair hiring climate with 13 per cent planning to hire. Ten per cent anticipate cutbacks and 77 per cent will maintain their current staff.

York Region employers expect a disappointing hiring climate, according to the survey. Three per cent plan to hire; 10 per cent anticipate cutbacks and 87 per cent will maintain their current staff.

What is the best job sector, reporting the strongest prospects? Public administration, as employers report a net employment expectancy of 17 per cent, the most favourable outlook for any sector this quarter.