Staffing industry employment the week before Christmas showed greater strength than usual—compared with the same period of previous years as well as the months leading up the holiday. Typically, staffing employment peaks somewhere between mid-November and mid-December, after which it plummets unfettered for several weeks before turning upward in mid-January. Temporary and contract employment, as measured by the ASA Staffing Index, recorded fewer job losses than observed in prior years. Paradoxically, a decline in job losses suggests improved performance over the long term.
The ASA Staffing Index for the week of Dec. 19–25 came in at 86, a decline of 6.96% from the index of the previous week, which was at 93. Temporary and contract jobs are practically certain to drop off the last two weeks of the year, but the index suggests that the week ending Dec. 18 may have been the industry’s employment peak all of 2011.
The index illustrates the unusual length and strength of staffing employment around the end of its annual cycle. Growth occurred virtually nonstop throughout the year, but its pace slowed in August, putting year-to-year comparisons in the red. The index for the week ending Dec. 25 put staffing jobs in green, positive territory. Interpretation is complicated this time of year, though, because 2011 is a year that actually has 53 weeks. Let’s get through the 53rd week before we break out the champagne. Oh, but that might be complicated too, by this calendar rarity.
To keep up with the latest developments in staffing employment, sign up now to participate in the free ASA Staffing Index survey (it takes as little as 12 seconds to complete) and have detailed results e-mailed directly to you.
Contracts/Deals: Japanese Recruit Gets Transatlantic Advantage
Japanese staffing and outsourcing firm Recruit has acquired Delaware-based staffing and outsourcing company Advantage Resourcing America and Advantage Resourcing Europe from affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management. The deal is worth approximately $410m, with Recruit acquiring 100% of the company. The acquisition will make Recruit the world’s fourth-largest staffing firm by revenue, up from its current fifth-place.
Business Journal (California) (01/04/12) Business Journal Staff
Adventist Medical Center in Reedley, CA, became the sixth Adventist Health Hospital to contract CEP America to provide management and staffing services for its emergency department. CEP’s proprietary Rapid Medical Evaluation program has brought the average wait time down to 20 minutes below the national average.
“Based on CEP America’s continued success with our fellow Adventist Health hospitals, we knew they were the right choice for us,” says Denyse Bales-Chubb, administrator of Adventist Medical Center. “By partnering with CEP America, we can continue to enhance the quality of care to our emergency department visitors.” The center in Reedley services around 14,000 patients a year in its emergency department.
New Study Shows Architecture, Arts Degrees Yield Highest Unemployment
A study set to be released today by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reports that recent college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in architecture, the arts, and humanities experienced significantly higher rates of joblessness. The recent college graduates with the lowest rates of unemployment had degrees in health, education, and agriculture and natural resources. Those with business and engineering degrees also fared relatively well.
The analysis was based on 2009 and 2010 data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and comes amid an increasing debate over the value of college education as an economic investment. Study co-author Anthony Carnevale and his team have also quantified the value of various majors in terms of wages. Over a lifetime, the earnings of workers who have majored in engineering, computer science or business were as much as 50% higher than the earnings of those who majored in the humanities, the arts, education, and psychology.
Even across relatively similar fields, unemployment rates could be significantly different. For example, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates in information systems was 11.7%, while the rates for majors in computer science was 7.8%. Unemployment rates were generally higher among those with degrees in non-technical fields, according to the study.
ISM Index of U.S. Manufacturing Hits Highest Level Since June 2011
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for December climbed to 53.9% from 52.7% in November, which is a six-month high. Economists polled by MarketWatch had anticipated a 53.0% reading. Any reading above 50% indicates expansion. The production and employment gauges each rose 3.3 points, and there was a 0.9 percentage point gain for the new orders index.
ASA Quarterly Employment and Sales Survey Now Open
The ASA quarterly survey on temporary and contract staffing, which collects data on sales, payroll, and employment, is now open for the fourth quarter of 2011. The Web-based survey takes only about 15 minutes to complete. Participants receive a free exclusive report on the results, which includes payroll data available nowhere else. ASA research partner Inavero, a market research firm, administers the survey to ensure confidentiality of participant data.
Data are due Feb. 6, and results will be released Feb. 20. Register today to take the survey or download a sample questionnaire. For more information, contact Alexandra Karaer, ASA director of research, at 703-253-2048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congress and Administration Busy Before Election Year Starts
American Staffing Association (01/04/12) Malara, Toby
In 2011, the Obama administration and Congress worked to score political points before a crucial election year. Some key policy decisions from Congress and the White house in 2011 that could have an effect on staffing firms relate to the areas of unemployment insurance reform, union rules, employers’ use of criminal background checks, immigration and customs enforcement, worker misclassification, and employer tax credits.
Faced with an angry electorate and uncertain political futures, the Obama administration and Congress worked to score political points before a crucial election year—in 2012, control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency will all be up for grabs.
These are some key policy decisions from Congress and the White house in 2011 that could have an effect on staffing firms. UI Reform: Congress and the Administration—Congress’s attempt at unemployment insurance reform stalled, but with defeat came a victory for employers.
California Labor Code requires that certain wage and other information be provided to each employee at the time of hire in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information. Any changes in such information must be provided within seven days of the changes unless such changes are reflected on a timely wage statement. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued a notice form that employers can use to comply with the new law. However, the DSLE form is problematic for temporary staffing firms.
Effective Jan. 1, 2012, California Labor Code section 2810.5(a) requires that certain wage and other information be provided to each employee at the time of hire in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information. Any changes in such information must be provided within seven days of the changes unless such changes are reflected on a timely wage statement.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement issued a notice form that employers can use to comply with the new law. However, the DSLE form is problematic for temporary staffing firms because it says a “work site employer” that uses another business, such as a “temporary services agency” or PEO, should provide the wage information “for the other business.” This suggests that temporary staffing firm clients would have to provide the notice to the staffing firm’s employees (and does not rule out the possibility that both the staffing firm and the client must provide the notice). Although temporary staffing firm clients may be co-employers for some purposes, they do not hire the firm’s employees—the staffing firm hires them, generally when it completes the I-9 form. Moreover, clients are not the employer of record for the payment of wages to the staffing firm’s employees and would have no way of knowing a temporary job applicant’s potential rate or rates of pay. Nor do they provide workers’ compensation coverage to the staffing firm’s employees. Therefore, the client should have no obligation to provide the notice of wages and workers’ compensation information to staffing firm employees.
E-Verify Use on the Rise, But Some Businesses Frustrated
An increasing number of Tennessee businesses are using E-Verify, the federal online database that checks if someone is in the U.S. legally. In 2007, about 400 Tennessee businesses used it, while today, more than 4,000 are signed up. Increased auditing of employment records by the federal government is one reason for the increase, as is the fact that states surrounding Tennessee have passed laws requiring employers to check their workers’ immigration status.
Jeff Bates of TA Staffing says his firm has been using E-Verify since it started, and calls it a selling point when he is recruiting businesses to hire his temporary workers. “You know, if 10 people are walking in the door and applying each day and they’re not eligible for employment in the U.S.,” says Bates, “then why are they wasting their time with those 10 candidates?”
Out of every 500 names he runs through E-Verify, Bates says only one will come back as being in the country illegally. E-Verify use is still optional in Tennessee, but state legislators will push next year to make its use mandatory. The Tennessee chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business says reviews are mixed, with some business owners liking it, while others find it too time consuming. The group also notes it can be a challenge for businesses in rural areas.
NLRB Postpones Implementation of Posting Requirement Rule Until April 30, 2012
The National Labor Relations Board has announced that it has again postponed implementation of its published rule requiring private sector employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act to post an official notice informing employees of their rights under the NLRA, and penalizing employers for non-compliance.
The NLRB decided to postpone implementation as a result of a request made by Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in connection with a consolidated lawsuit brought by the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. which alleges that the NLRB does not have statutory authority to implement such a rule. The NLRB had already postponed implementation until Jan. 31 because of the litigation.
American Staffing Association (01/04/12) Dwyer, Stephen
Connecticut’s paid sick leave law went into effect Jan. 1. The law requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave to service employees. “Day or temporary workers” are excluded from the law, however.
The law defines a day or temporary worker as an individual who performs work for another on a per diem basis, or on an occasional or irregular basis for only the time required to complete such work, whether such individual is paid by the person for whom such work is performed or by an employment agency or temporary help service.
Under the new law, hourly service workers, such as waiters, cashiers, fast food chefs, and others, will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours that they work, up to a maximum of 40 hours of paid sick leave a year. It is estimated that 200,000 to 400,000 workers will be covered under the law.
The law applies only to businesses with 50 or more employees. Along with day or temporary workers, the bill excludes manufacturing companies, nationally chartered nonprofit organizations, and independent contractors.
Connecticut joins the District of Columbia and San Francisco as the only U.S. jurisdictions to impose a paid sick leave mandate on employers.
Americans are relatively optimistic regarding the state of the economy as the new year begins. Consumer confidence is up, the stock market has gained of late, and there is a cautious willingness among employers to add even more staff this year.
That caution has led Monster to predict that temporary hiring is likely to be strong well into 2012. In its December report, the American Staffing Association reported that the staffing index has been increasing, slowly, but steadily, since February 2011, and is now pretty much where it was at the end of last year. ASA corporate partner CareerBuilder says that one in four employers plans to add permanent staff this year, about the same number the job board reported for 2011. Manpower’s quarterly employment survey was even a bit more positive, finding that 14% of employers intend to add jobs in the first three months of the year, its strongest hiring outlook since 2008.
CareerBuilder chief executive Matt Ferguson predicts a better employment picture for 2012 than the numbers might imply. “Historically, our surveys have shown that employers are more conservative in their predictions than actual hiring,” says Ferguson. “Barring any major economic upsets, we expect 2012 to bring a better hiring picture than 2011, especially in the second half of the year.”