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Long-Term Unemployment a ‘National Crisis’

Wall Street Journal (01/18/12) Murrray, Sara; McWhirter, Cameron

While the job market is improving, long-term unemployment continues to be particularly pronounced, and there is little indication that it is falling quickly. The government reported in December that 3.9 million nationwide had been out of work for at least a year and were still looking.

Some will eventually find jobs, though long spells of unemployment are likely to scar them for years. Workers who were jobless for six months or more in the late 1990s and early 2000s in Connecticut and eventually found work earned 60% less than those who were unemployed for three months or less, according to economists Kenneth Couch of the University of Connecticut and Dana Placzek of the state labor department. Workers who had been unemployed for less than five weeks in 2010 had a 34% chance of finding a job the following month, according to U.S. Department of Labor data, while those out more than six months had only a 10% chance.

The article examines the impact of these developments on the town of Roswell, GA. Applications and placements at staffing firm Hire Dynamics LLC, which has six Georgia locations including one near Roswell, were up 40% last year, says chief executive Dan Campbell.

U.S. Loses High-Tech Jobs as R&D Shifts Toward Asia

Wall Street Journal (01/18/12) Hagerty, James

The National Science Board warns that the U.S. is rapidly losing high-technology jobs as U.S.-based companies such as 3M Co., Caterpillar Inc., and General Electric Co. expand their overseas research-and-development (R&D) labs. And while U.S.-based labs continue to innovate, developing such hit products as the iPad tablet, those products are made in Asia, increasing fears that more R&D will flow to Asia. Researchers often prefer to work near factories, where ideas can be tested quickly.

In the six years through 2009, approximately 85% of the growth in R&D workers employed by U.S.-based multinational companies has been overseas, according to the National Science Board, a policy-making arm of the federal government’s National Science Foundation. Overall U.S. employment in high-technology manufacturing has declined 28% since 2000 to about 1.8 million jobs, the report said.

Health Care Staffing Company Acquires PHS Staffing

Middletown Journal (Ohio) (01/17/12) Staff Report

PHS Staffing—an $18 million medical staffing firm servicing health care facilities in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah—has been acquired by the national health care staffing firm Advantage RN. “PHS Staffing’s focus on per diem staffing, along with their extensive experience in government and Allied contracting, is a valuable addition to Advantage’s service offerings,” says Advantage president and chief executive Matt Price. “Their strong presence in the Western states will further expand our Advantage On Call per diem staffing efforts while strengthening our ability to meet the changing staffing needs of medical facilities and job seekers across the country.” Advantage serves more than 400 health care facilities nationwide.

Jobs Boost Fuels Hope for U.S. Industry

Financial Times (01/17/12) Crooks, Ed

The U.S. has added more net manufacturing jobs since the start of 2010 than the rest of the Group of Seven developed countries put together. Employment in U.S. manufacturing stands at approximately 11.79 million, still about two million below its prerecession level. However, productivity gains and slow wage growth have prompted increasing hopes that the U.S. is entering a sustained manufacturing revival.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, says: “I think we are at an inflection point for manufacturing in the U.S. Employment in the industry has been in decline for decades, but it is now at a point where it is going from quite strong to stronger.” However, Brad Jensen, of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, argues that “manufacturing is not really where the U.S. comparative advantage lies,” adding that the nation should be looking to business services—including finance, the media, and professional services—as sources of jobs and export income.

Indianapolis Businesses Hiring Temporary Workers to Handle Demand During Super Bowl Week

Indianapolis Star (01/17/12)

Indianapolis businesses are temporarily increasing their staffs in preparation for the Feb. 5 Super Bowl and the resulting throngs of football fans coming to the city. Glen Greenawalt, executive vice president at LGC Hospitality Staffing, says his company is looking to hire 1,000 temporary employees for the weeks leading up to the event, mainly for the convention center and major downtown hotels. “We afford the opportunity for these (organizations) to take on more business than they normally could,” Greenawalt says. “They can double their production for a few days or a few weeks.”

The Super Bowl will add $213 million in direct wages and 5,000 jobs, including many temporary jobs. Putting new work experience on the résumés of long out-of-work residents could help them land full-time jobs later, says Michael Hicks, associate professor of economics at Ball State University, who notes that some hiring managers have opted to ignore applicants unemployed for a year or more. A temporary job could serve as a “gateway” to permanent employment, he says.

IT Employment Finishes Strong in 2011

MarketWatch (01/17/12)

The latest monthly index of information technology (IT) jobs from TechServe Alliance concludes that the economy added those jobs at a robust pace in December, contributing to an already strong year for IT employment. The number of IT jobs increased by more than 0.4%, rising to 4,082,100 jobs in December, according to TechServe, a collaboration of IT services firms, clients, consultants, and suppliers. On an annual basis, IT jobs were up 3.3% in 2011 over 2010.

“As we begin 2012, I am heartened to see accelerating growth in IT employment,” says Mark Roberts, chief executive of TechServe Alliance. “Based upon both the data and anecdotal reports of my member companies, one of our greatest challenges going forward will be a shortage of IT talent in key skill sets.”

Keep Your Compensation Competitive

If your company’s fiscal year doesn’t follow the calendar year, now is the perfect time to get the ASA Staffing Industry Compensation Survey report—the most comprehensive survey of its kind. ASA collected data on more than 8,000 employees at nearly 4,000 staffing firm offices to determine staffing industry employee compensation and benefit plans.

Available in three report modules—for sales, recruiting, and customer service positions; managers; and directors and vice presidents—the survey results provide information on salaries, variable pay, and benefits for 25 positions specific to the staffing industry.

The survey reports allow staffing firms to easily see how their compensation, incentive, and benefits structures compare with those of similar firms. They can help you develop competitive plans for your company and know what to pay your employees. ASA members get a 50% discount on the reports. Order your copy today at

IRS Clarifies Previous Guidance on Form W-2 Informational Reporting Requirement

Mondaq (01/17/12)

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Jan. 3 released Notice 2012-9, which restates and clarifies its prior guidance on the requirement under the Affordable Care Act to report the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on employees’ annual Forms W-2. The alert provides a general overview of the reporting requirement, updated to reflect the latest guidance, and summarizes other changes and clarifications contained in Notice 2012-9. The reporting requirement is effective starting with the 2012 Forms W-2.

Employers that are in a professional employer organization relationship or that use employee leasing organizations should consult with legal counsel to determine how the reporting requirement applies to them.

U.S. Industrial Output Rebounds in December

MarketWatch (01/18/12) Robb, Greg

The U.S. Federal Reserve reports the output of the nation’s factories, mines, and utilities rebounded in December after struggling in November. Industrial output increased 0.4% in December, in line with expectations. Output rose at a 3.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter. Capacity utilization increased to 78.1% in December from 77.8% in November.

U.S. Wholesale Prices Fall 0.1% in December

Wall Street Journal Online (01/18/12) Morath, Eric; Di Leo, Luca

U.S. wholesale prices fell 0.1% in December, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast overall wholesale prices would be unchanged on a month-to-month basis, while core producer prices were expected to rise by 0.1%. The slowdown in overall costs may give the Federal Reserve more flexibility to deploy a new round of economic stimulus measures.