Northern Ireland's employers are planning to reduce the size of their workforce in the next three months, according to a new survey from recruitment company Manpower.
The Employment Outlook Survey revealed businesses here are the least optimistic when it comes to hiring plans of all UK regions.
The survey is based on responses from over 2,000 employers across the UK, 138 of which are in Northern Ireland, and asks employers whether they intend to hire additional workers or reduce their headcount.
Only in Northern Ireland was a negative result received, with the overall UK picture showing every single sector is in line for a boost to employment, even construction, one of the hardest hit by the recession.
However, there are some suggestions of recovery, according to ManpowerGroup UK Managing Director Mark Cahill.
"It's disappointing that the second quarter looks to be a challenging period for job prospects in the region," he said. "However, there are areas of optimism. In Belfast, we're seeing hiring remain relatively steady compared to the rest of the region, with an increase in permanent roles providing job hope."