Waterloo Region businesses say they’re planning to do more hiring than firing in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Workforce analysts at ManpowerGroup released their latest employment outlook survey on Tuesday.

In Waterloo Region, eight per cent of surveyed employers said they plan to add jobs before the end of the year, while five per cent plan to cut back.

According to ManpowerGroup, while the outlook is positive, it is closer to neutral than the third quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016 were.

“We’re still pretty optimistic,” says Erica Melarangeli, the organization’s regional business development and operations leader.

Eighty-five per cent of surveyed businesses said they planned to maintain their current staffing levels through the end of 2017, while the remaining two per cent said they had yet to finalize their plans.

Another sign that Waterloo Region is a great place for job-seekers came last week, when Statistics Canada released its latest unemployment figures.

The seasonally-adjusted numbers show that the region’s unemployment rate for August stood at 4.4 per cent – the lowest rate of any major population centre in Canada, and the lowest local rate since 2005.

The strong hiring climate is being seen firsthand in the region’s tech industry.

Andrea Gilbrook, the director of talent programs at Communitech, says the tech sector is adding 2,000 to 3,000 jobs per year – with that number expected to grow in the near future.

“We’ve had a huge increase in talent needs over the last little while,” she says.

While many people think of the tech industry as being dominated by software developers and engineers, Gilbrook says many tech companies are also looking for people in more traditional roles like sales and marketing.

With reporting by Tina Yazdani