Consumers may have a dreary outlook on the job market, but a top employment company sees distinctly better times ahead.

Manpower's ( MAN) latest survey says the job market in the second quarter will be the best in 2 1/2 years.

The Milwaukee-based company Tuesday said its closely watched survey of 16,000 employers showed 28% of them plan to increase hiring in the next quarter. The vast majority, 62%, don't expect any change in hiring, while 6% expect a decrease in jobs.

"Based on the hiring intentions that were reported across a majority of the companies surveyed, it is clear that demand for their products and services has finally surpassed the capacity and productivity of the current workforce," the survey said.

Recent consumer surveys have shown renewed concerns about the job market as the nation's economy continues to experience a subpar period of job creation. The government's most recent employment report showed the economy added just 21,000 jobs in February.

The Manpower survey found that hiring is expected to increase in each of the four regions and in all 10 of the industry sectors surveyed. Even the manufacturing sector, which has lost more than 2 million jobs in recent years, projected "notable increases."

The construction industry -- now undergoing a historic boom because of rock-bottom interest rates -- had the strongest employment outlook since 1978.

The South was forecast to lead job growth, while the Northeast's employment market was expected to be the weakest.

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