TORONTO -- Canadian employers expect the hiring climate to remain favourable for the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

In a survey of nearly 1,900 employers, 13 per cent told the employment agency they plan to add jobs in the quarter. Seven per cent of respondents said they anticipate cutbacks, 78 per cent expect to maintain current staffing levels and two per cent were unsure of their hiring intentions.

With seasonal variations taken out, the 13 per cent figure is a slight increase compared to the previous quarter, and down one percentage point from the same time last year.

Manpower says with employers in transportation and public utilities report the strongest first quarter job prospects, with 21 per cent saying they expect to add to their payrolls.

Employers in the services sector said they anticipate a steady hiring climate in the first quarter, and construction companies surveyed said they expect an upbeat hiring climate.

On a regional basis, Manpower says employers in western Canada and the Maritimes anticipate the most upbeat hiring climate for the upcoming quarter. Employers in Ontario project a respectable first quarter and Quebec employers anticipate a mild hiring climate.