Hiring expectations in Greece for the fourth quarter of the year are among the worst in the world, according to an international survey, which showed labor market conditions being toughest in the retail sector. Job finders Manpower Inc, which conducts quarterly surveys in 36 countries, measuring employer intentions to increase or decrease staff levels, said yesterday expectations are strongest in Switzerland, Norway, Poland and Germany and weakest in Greece, Italy and the Czech Republic. «Job prospects are expected to deteriorate further in Greece, where employers are reporting the least optimistic hiring intentions since the survey was launched there in the second quarter of 2008,» it said in a statement. Eight percent of employers expect to boost staff numbers between October to December, while 18 percent see a head-count reduction for the same period. Of the 750 businesses surveyed, Manpower Inc found that 72 percent believe staff levels will remain at their current levels. Poor job prospects in Greece will further weigh on deteriorating labor market conditions, which have seen unemployment rise to 12 percent in May, from 8.5 percent a year earlier. According to the General Confederation of Labor (GSEE), the jobless figure is seen as jumping to as high as 20 percent by the end of the year as the economy moves deeper into recession and recently introduced laws provide employers with greater flexibility to reduce payrolls. The General Confederation of Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE) said last month that some 120,000 job positions could be lost over the next six months due to plunging consumption. A breakdown of Manpower’s figures showed that hiring prospects were the worst in retail and wholesale trade, manufacturing and tourism. The least unfavorable prospects were spotted in transport and communications, power companies and financial services, the survey showed.