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August 26, 2014

ASA Staffing Index Hits 100.32

Staffing employment for the week of Aug. 11–17 rose to 100.32—a new record at the 33-week mark, according to the latest ASA Staffing Index results. Temporary and contract staffing employment increased 0.59% from the prior week. This is a 3.82% increase compared with the same week last year. That same week also will be used in the August monthly employment situation report that will be issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Sept. 5.
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The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index Improves Again
Conference Board News Release (08/26/14)

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased from 90.3 in July to 92.4 in August. The Present Situation Index grew from 87.9 to 94.6 and the Expectations Index dropped from 91.9 to 90.9 in July. The number of consumers who view business conditions as “good” went up from 23.3% to 23.9% and the amount of consumers who view business conditions as “bad” fell from 22.8% to 21.5%. Consumers who believe jobs are “plentiful” increased from 15.6% to 18.2% while those who say jobs are “hard to get” fell from 30.9% to 30.6%.

Central Banks to Lawmakers: You Try Growing the Economy
Washington Post (08/26/14) Ylan Mui

The consensus at the annual gathering of the world’s central bankers this weekend was that the power of monetary policy to drive global growth is nearing its limit. Further progress will now depend on whether government leaders are willing to step up to the plate. The academic research and discussions at the conference organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City underscored that many of the roadblocks to faster growth cannot be removed by monetary policy. “The needed reforms lie outside the mandate of central banks and fall squarely in the laps of elected officials,” said economist Peter Henry, dean of the business school at New York University. “It will do no good if central bankers give the labor market room to grow if politicians shoot the recovery in the foot.”

Texas Manufacturing Expands But at a Slower Pace
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (08/25/2014)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas reports that the Texas manufacturing production index dropped to 6.8 in August from 19.1 in July, revealing a slowdown in output growth. The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey also shows an 11-point decrease in the new orders index to 2.2. Meanwhile, the general business activity index slipped to 7.1, marking a five-month low, and company outlook declined to 1.5 from 11.3.

However, the employment index held steady at 11.1 in August, with 21% of companies reporting net hiring and just 10% reporting net layoffs. The survey also reveals a decrease in the hours worked index to 2.9 from 6.3.

Durable-Goods Orders Jump 22.6% in July
MarketWatch (08/26/14) Jeffrey Bartash

Orders for U.S. durable goods increased by a record 22.6% in July because of a surge in contracts for Boeing aircraft, but bookings actually fell for most other industries, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected durable-goods orders to surge by 12.6% after Boeing signed a record number of contracts for new jetliners in July. Demand for cars and trucks were also strong again, up 10.2%. Yet orders excluding the transportation sector actually fell 0.8% amid widespread weakness. Softening the blow of a generally weak July was a sharp upward revision in orders for June—to a 2.7% gain from a prior 1.7%.

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