Fed Tipping Toward December Rate Hike, Minutes Show
Wall Street Journal (11/18/15) Jon Hilsenrath
The U.S. Federal Reserve is sending out signals that it intends to raise interest rates in December, as long as job growth and inflation trends do not decline. Most officials at the Fed’s October meeting anticipated that December “could well be” the time to lift short-term rates after leaving them near zero for seven years, according to minutes of the meeting. “Most participants anticipated that, based on their assessment of the current economic situation and their outlook for economic activity, the labor market, and inflation, these conditions could well be met by the time of the next meeting,” the minutes read.
The minutes also implied that after the Fed moves rates higher the subsequent path of rate increases likely will be exceptionally shallow and gradual. Fed officials see new factors—most notably low productivity growth and an aging population—continuing to put downward pressure on growth.
U.S. Jobless Claims Drop 5,000 to 271,000
MarketWatch (11/19/15) Jeffry Bartash
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast claims of 270,000. The average of new claims over the past month rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 270,750.
Leading Economic Index Bounces Back in October
Conference Board News Release (11/19/15)
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.6% in October to 124.1, following a 0.1% decline in September.
“The U.S. LEI rose sharply in October, with the yield spread, stock prices, and building permits driving the increase,” says Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at the Conference Board. “Despite lackluster third-quarter growth, the economic outlook now appears to be improving. While the U.S. LEI’s six-month growth rate has moderated, the U.S. economy remains on track for continued expansion heading into 2016.”
The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.2% in October to 113.0, following a 0.1% increase in September. The Conference Board Lagging Economic Index for the U.S. increased 0.2% in October to 119.3, following a 0.6% increase in September.
Philadelphia Fed: Manufacturing Conditions Showed Slight Improvement in November
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (11/19/15)
Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia region showed slight improvement in November, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The indicator for general activity was slightly positive this month, following two months in negative territory. The diffusion index for current activity edged higher this month, from -4.5 to 1.9, its first positive reading in three months. The indexes for current new orders and shipments approached zero this month, increasing 7 points and 4 points, respectively. Both indexes remained negative, however, suggesting continued weakness.
Labor market indicators were mixed this month. The percentage of firms reporting increases in employment (14%) was slightly greater than the percentage reporting decreases (11%). The employment index increased four points, from -1.7 to 2.6. Firms, however, reported overall declines in average work hours in November. The workweek index registered its second consecutive negative reading and declined nine points.
BBSI Confirms Delayed Filing of Third Quarter 2015 10-Q
BBSI News Release (11/18/2015)
Barrett Business Services Inc. has confirmed that the filing of its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2015, will be delayed. At the request of BBSI’s independent auditors, BBSI’s audit committee has retained independent legal counsel to conduct a thorough and prompt independent investigation related to its second quarter 2014 workers’ compensation reserve. BBSI intends to file its Form 10-Q for the 2015 third quarter as soon as practicable after the independent investigation has been completed.
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Staffing and recruiting professionals are still talking about Staffing World 2015, the ASA annual convention and expo, which was attended by nearly 2,000 industry professionals last month in Nashville, TN. If you had your professional portrait taken at the convention, you can download it from the ASA website. And check out other photos from Staffing World on the ASA Flickr feed.
Save the date for next year—the ASA board of directors and staff look forward to seeing you again at Staffing World 2016, Oct. 25–27 in San Diego, for a grand celebration of the association’s 50th anniversary.