How often have we heard this?

People looking for work this spring could find the strongest U.S. job market in more than three years, even as companies remain reluctant to hire, a new survey shows.

Roughly one in four employers plan to add workers in the second quarter of the year to keep pace with increased demand for their products or services, according to a survey of 16,000 businesses by Manpower Inc., set for release Tuesday.

“Someone looking for a job no doubt will have an easier time now than in recent memory, than in the past two or three years,” said Jeffrey Joerres, Manpower’s chief executive officer and chairman. “It’s still going to be difficult in that companies are going to begin this process very cautiously.”

Substantial job growth will come if companies fulfill their hiring projections for the quarter, he said.

The survey found 28 percent of companies expect to hire more people in the second quarter, while 6 percent intend to cut jobs. The rest anticipate no change or are uncertain about hiring prospects from April to May.

Now, hold on a minute.

I’m no math whiz but doesn’t that mean that this survey demonstrates that 72% of employers (the overwhelming majority — three out of four in fact) have no hiring plans or, worse yet, plan to lay off some workers?

So how is that good news? Sounds like a pretty flaccid job market to me!

Is it my imagination or is this yet another transparent attempt to pump up Dear MisLeader’s poll numbers?

Does anyone happen to know how much money Manpower or people associated with Manpower have given to W’s campaign in the last four years?