The United States is expected to see weak employment prospects though employers expect the modest hiring pace to continue in the first three months of the year, a survey reported.

U.S. employers are reporting their most optimistic forecast since Q4 2008 and, together with Mexican employers, report their strongest first-quarter hiring intentions in three years, the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey said.

Unemployment in the U.S. has remained high over the past several months. It had remained constant for the past three months at 9.6 percent but rose to 9.8 percent in November.

Creating jobs is one of the major concerns of the U.S. government, which announced a second round of quantitative easing in early November to boost economic growth and prevent the economy from sinking into deflation.

According to economists, at least 200,000 jobs need to be created every month the unemployment rate has to improve. The QE2, as it is popularly known, is expected to improve the unemployment rate by half a percentage point by 2012.

Employers in India, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Turkey and Singapore report the strongest first-quarter hiring plans, the report said.

Greece, the Czech Republic, Austria and Ireland report the weakest hiring forecasts, the report added.

Greece and Ireland are among the hardest hit economics in the European Union. Both countries are the recipients of massive bailouts from the EU/International Monetary Fund earlier this year and have a severe austerity plan in place to reduce their budget deficits.

Ireland currently has an unemployment rate of 13.5 percent, one of the highest in the world. Greece's unemployment rate is expected to touch 15 percent next year.

The services industry will be driving much of the growth during the first quarter. In Brazil, four in 10 employers indicate that they will add to their payrolls, pushed by the services industry, the report said.

More than half of all the service sector employers in India plan to add to their workforce in the first quarter, while the manufacturing sector is seeing its most optimistic trends since the survey began, the report added.