Local employers plan to hire at a solid, steady pace during the first quarter of next year, according to a survey released Tuesday from Manpower Inc. The Milwaukee staffing giant’s quarterly survey of employers in Los Angeles and Orange counties found that 17 percent plan to increase staff, 6 percent plan layoffs and 73 percent plan to keep staffing levels constant. These figures are a slight improvement from three months ago, when 15 percent of employers planned to hire more workers during the fourth quarter. But they are down a bit from a year earlier, when 20 percent of employers said they planned to add staff. The Los Angeles area hiring levels also lag slightly behind the national trend. Manpower found that 19 percent of employers plan to hire additional workers in the coming three months. Most businesses tend to keep staffing levels constant. Anytime the percentage of companies planning to increase staff rises above 15 percent, it’s considered a sign of a robust hiring market. For the first quarter, local job prospects appear best for workers in construction, retail, financial services, education, health services and leisure/hospitality industries.