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2012 Job Market Brightens, But Unemployment Won’t Fall Fast

USA Today (01/11/12) Davidson, Paul; Hansen, Barbara

The job outlook has brightened the past two months as higher consumer spending, improved business confidence, and a stock market rally have somewhat eased concerns about further shocks from Europe’s financial turmoil. Economists recently surveyed by the Associated Press expect employers to add 2.1 million jobs in 2012, an average of 175,000 a month. While the highest monthly pace in years, it would still fall short of the 250,000 to 300,000 needed to cut unemployment quickly. “It’s not going to be a breakout year,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

Moody’s predicts that three categories—professional and business services, education and health care, and leisure and hospitality—will lead job gains, collectively producing more than 1 million. The energy sector will also continue to hire. Sun Belt states hammered by the recession—Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada—will rebound some, while Rust Belt manufacturing states such as Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana will generate jobs more slowly.

A survey of 18,000 employers released last month by staffing firm ManpowerGroup found employers’ hiring outlook for the first quarter was at its highest since 2008. At the same time, the level of employers unsure of their hiring plans was the most since 2005. Many large companies, in turn, are holding off on permanent hiring and relying heavily on contractors and temporary workers to complete projects, says Janette Marx, senior vice president of staffing company Adecco.

Four Job Seekers for Every Opening, Report Shows

MSNBC (01/10/12) Schoen, John

Even as hiring picked up in November, the number of job openings declined, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Employers filled about 4.15 million jobs in November, an increase but still badly lagging the pace in the three years before the recession hit, when employers were signing up more than five million new hires each month. Meanwhile, although hiring picked up in November, job openings shrank by 63,000, to 3.2 million.

With 13.3 million people unemployed in November, there were about 4.2 job seekers for every job opening, down a notch from the revised October ratio of 4.3-to-1. That is approximately triple the ratio seen before the recession hit in December 2007 but down from a peak of 6.9-to-1 in the summer of 2009. The drop in job openings was biggest for professional and business services (down 59,000) and government (down 18,000). Openings were slightly higher in construction (up 3,000), trade/transportation/utilities (4,000), education/health services (13,000), and leisure/hospitality (32,000).

2012 Expected to be Good Year for Law Firm Lateral Market

JD Journal (01/11/12)

Legal industry observers expect law firms to increase their lateral hiring in 2012 in an effort to expand their existing services. Firms are eager to hire lawyers who will bring new clients to the firm that fall into sectors the firms are looking to develop. The lateral market has “been picking up steam and will continue to do so. There’s a lot of people looking to make moves,” says Christopher Petrini-Poli from consulting firm HBR Consulting LLC.

Altman Weil Inc. released a survey in September that questioned 240 U.S. law firms on their growth strategies. Of the firms that responded to the survey, 91.6% of the law firms said that they were making an effort to hire laterals in 2011. Thomas Clay, an author of the report issued by Altman Weil, says that the increase in lateral hiring is due to the need for lawyers with business experience, not the need to fill jobs that were lost during the recession. “The people who were let go during the recession were mainly young lawyers,” Clay says. “This has nothing to do with filling up those ranks.”

Fed’s Williams: Fed Should Use All Tools to Help the Economy

Dow Jones Newswires (01/10/12) Derby, Michael

While the Federal Reserve should do all it can to help the economy recover, what it does next depends on how events play out, says John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “It’s vital that the Fed use all the tools at its disposal to achieve its mandated employment and price-stability goals,” Williams states, adding that “the policy actions the Fed takes from here on out will depend on how economic conditions develop.”

Williams is encouraged by improvements in the December jobs report, but says the dip to 8.5% unemployment is not “a game changer.” Tepid growth is the trend and if economic performance were to further weaken in the first quarter “that would make a strong case for doing more” to stimulate the economy, he says.

Ways to Manage Increased Hiring Demand for Industrial Engineers

Wanted Analytics (01/10/12) Lombardi, Abby

With hiring demand for engineers expected to remain strong in 2012, recruiters in that field will face challenges in dealing with a limited talent supply, especially for the most demanded engineering job—industrial engineers. In December, more than 12,900 job ads were posted for industrial engineers by 3,800 companies. Many companies are recruiting for hundreds of openings and recruiters are likely to compete heavily to attract enough talent to fill all their open positions.

In order to source enough candidates and fill open industrial engineer positions, hiring managers and recruiters may want to discuss hiring from areas with more favorable recruiting conditions. Locations currently experiencing the easiest conditions for sourcing industrial engineers include Palm Bay, FL; Houma, LA; Binghamton, NY; Anderson, SC; and Lakeland, FL. If relocating talent is not an option for an organization, recruiters and hiring managers should look at other skills that may be easily translated to the job opening. For example, mechanical engineers are experiencing better recruiting conditions than industrial engineers. Also, many times industrial engineers go by different job titles—such as quality engineer or process engineer—that should also be included in candidate searches.

ASAPro Spotlight—Enhance Your Internal Hiring Strategy

ASAPro—the ASA online professional development center—posts new courses monthly to help you in your professional development. Most ASAPro courses are
free for ASA members
. Check out “Enhance Your Internal Hiring Strategy to Produce Better Results.”

During this ASAPro course, Scott Wintrip, PCC, founder and president of StaffingU, provides you with a powerful system for profiling who you will recruit and hire. Learn how to find and assess the best and final fit for your staffing firm.

The course is free for ASA members ($195 for nonmembers) and qualifies for 1.0 passive continuing education hour toward ASA certification renewal. To view this course, log in to your personal account and search for the course by title, then add it to your shopping cart and purchase the course. No payment will be required from ASA members.

For more information, contact ASA at 703-253-2020 or

Health Care Reform Lawsuit: States File Legal Arguments Against Medicaid Expansion

Politico (01/10/12) Haberkorn, Jennifer

Twenty-six states have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the health care reform law’s mandatory state expansion of the Medicaid program, an issue in the health care reform lawsuit that could determine how much leverage the federal government has with the states on any issue. Attorney Paul Clement, who is representing the states, said in a brief, “While some individuals are exempt from the penalties designed to enforce the mandate, no state is exempt from the massive penalty—the loss of the entirety of funding under the single largest grant-in-aid programs for the states—and so Congress did not even contemplate the possibility of a state opting out of Medicaid.”

The expansion of Medicaid under the reform law is one of four issues being targeted by states, but if the Supreme Court agrees with the states, it could limit the federal government’s power to use money as an incentive for the states to act on any issue. The states have said that expanding Medicaid is “an illegal commandeering of states’ autonomy” because it ties all federal funding for the program to the expansion, which amounts to coercion.

Students, Volunteers, or Employees? (01/09/12)

Hofstra University in New York was recently sued by 256 graduate and undergraduate students who charged the school had underpaid them for the work they did, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In a federal district court, Hofstra settled the case for nearly $500,000, so the judge did not rule on whether they were students or employees.

The lead plaintiff in the Hofstra case, a graduate student, charged that she had worked more than 40 hours a week during the fall semester managing the football team and performing other on-campus jobs. She was paid only a $700 stipend for the whole semester—less than minimum wage, with no overtime pay provided. The National Labor Relations Board has seesawed on whether graduate students working for/at their schools are allowed to unionize, meaning they are employees. The board said in 2000 that they could, reversed that stance in 2004, and observers say they may be set to reverse it again.

OSHA Publishes New Web Page That Features Safety and Health Information on Winter Storm Hazards

Seyfarth Shaw (12/22/11) Simonsen, Craig

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has just published a Web page that provides “safety and health information on winter storm hazards.” OSHA indicates that winter storms “create a variety of hazards and can have lingering impacts on everyday tasks and work activities,” noting that the National Weather Service reports that about 70% of injuries during winter storms result from vehicle accidents, and about 25% of injuries result from being caught out in the storm. The new OSHA Web page provides guidance on winter storm preparedness, response and recovery, and additional resources.