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Weekly Indicators: 2011 Ends With a Bang

Seeking Alpha (01/01/12) Stewart, Hale

The ASA Staffing Index rose by one to 93 last week, though it will likely decline in the next couple of weeks due entirely to seasonality. The index is now equal to last year’s levels, after stagnating earlier this year.

Other recent indicators for the job market have been positive as well, including the Daily Treasury Statement showing that withholding for the first 19 days of December stood at $144.2 billion vs. $143.7 billion a year ago. For the last 20 reporting days, $151.8 billion was collected vs. $147.0 billion a year ago, a gain of 3.3%. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, reported that the four-week average of jobless claims declined to 375,000, the lowest level in more than three years. Seasonality is still significant, but even if the numbers are slightly overcompensating for seasonal factors, the author notes the trend remains very good.