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U.S. Jobless Claims Drop More Than Expected

Bloomberg (01/19/12) Bob Willis; Shobhana Chandra

The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits sank by 52,000 last week to 352,000, the lowest level since April 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor Department reported Thursday. The median forecast of 41 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 384,000. The decline eases concern that post-holiday firings are on the rise. Companies are slowing the pace of firings and beginning to step up the pace of hiring even as a slump in Europe may limit U.S. growth. The improvement may be a sign that companies are looking to expand their work forces as sales increase.

Many Are Migrating to Find the Next Job

United Press International (01/18/12)

A new survey from ASA corporate partner CareerBuilder finds that an increasing number of U.S. workers are taking jobs far beyond their local market. In a survey of 3,000 employers and 7,000 workers that explored the concept of relocating, CareerBuilder reports 20% of the respondents who were laid off and found new jobs in the past year indicated they had moved to a new city or state. Meanwhile, 32% of employers said they would be willing to pay a worker to relocate.

“One of the key trends we saw coming out of the recession is the movement of labor in and out of markets across the U.S.,” says Matt Ferguson, chief executive officer of CareerBuilder. “Workers have had to expand their job search geographically and employers in need of hard-to-find, skilled talent have had to recruit across state lines.”

Bernhart Survey Shows Bright Jobs Outlook for Marketing

WhatTheyThink (01/18/12)

Employers are ushering in the new year with an impressive spike in hiring plans, according to Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report for the first quarter of 2012. Approximately 52% of companies responding to the survey said they plan to add to staff in the first quarter of 2012, up sharply from 40% last quarter. The percentage of companies planning layoffs in the first quarter dropped to 6%, compared with 8% last quarter.

When asked what positions will be in greatest demand during the current quarter, employers listed analytic-related jobs on top by a large margin, followed by marketing, sales, creative, and account services. “We’re seeing more multiple openings per company, and social media-related jobs are appearing for the first time on the top 10 list of positions that will be in most demand,” says Jerry Bernhart, leading direct marketing recruiter and principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search LLC, which conducts the widely tracked quarterly employment survey.

Move to Flexible Work Force Is Permanent, Consultants Say

Workforce (01/18/12)

A survey by M Squared Consulting finds that 69% of independent consultants say the use of a flexible work force is a permanent change and not just a temporary response to current economic conditions. The survey also indicates that 42% of independent consultants enjoyed higher revenue in 2011 than in 2010, with 55% predicting their revenue will increase in 2012.

Reach Your Goals in 2012—ASAPro Webinar Today

Today from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time, attend the ASAPro Webinar “Focus Now to Make 2012 Your Most Productive Year” and get the tools and knowledge to develop or fine-tune your strategic plan for 2012. This Webinar, presented by John A. Thomas, CSP, CTS, vice president of partner development for Nextaff, is
free for ASA members
($295 for nonmembers).

ASAPro Webinars qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Visit to register.

Compare Your Employee Turnover With the National Average

Employee turnover is an important statistic for helping staffing firms understand how long their employees tend to stay in a position. The lower your firm’s turnover rate, the less money your firm spends on recruiting, new-hire administration, training, and any other costs associated with replacing employees. Higher employee retention and lower turnover can help your staffing firm reduce recruiting costs and increase profits.

You can use the ASA turnover calculator to easily determine your company’s turnover rate and see how it compares with industry averages. This calculator is available online as an Excel-based worksheet and a printable PDF. Access the turnover calculator at

ASAPro Spotlight—Learn Laser Prospecting

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 “Territory Management: Less Is More With Laser Prospecting.”

During this ASAPro course, Neil Lebovits, CPA, CPC, CTS, founder of the Dynamic Sale, will share his secrets about why calling by the numbers just doesn’t work anymore. Learn that once you limit your focus, you will be able to source the hottest leads out there. By focusing on less, you’ll be able to accomplish much more.

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 click the “View” button. For more information, contact ASA at 703-253-2020 or

MA Staffing Firm Enters Into Deal With Immigrant Rights Group

American Staffing Association (01/19/12) Stephen Dwyer

The Massachusetts staffing firm EDA Staffing has reportedly entered into an agreement with immigrant rights group Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores that would improve working conditions for EAD’s temporary workers. According to CCT, EAD’s workers were subjected to unsafe conditions while on assignments. The Massachusetts Staffing Association, an ASA-affiliated chapter, has repeatedly attempted to contact EAD but has not received a response.

The immigrant group’s agreement is part of its broader efforts to support HB 1393 in the state legislature, a bill that would devastate the state’s staffing industry. HB 1393 would prohibit certain placement and conversion fees, potentially cap bill rates, require in-state offices, prohibit sending candidate résumés to clients, and require mandatory meals and lodging for out-of-state employees. Violators would be subject to severe criminal penalties.

ASA and MSA have proposed a scaled-back bill with new reporting provisions that would apply only to day labor firms. Permanent placement agencies and temporary help firms would be subject to the simple registration requirements applicable to temporary firms under current law. The bill’s sponsor is considering the rewrite, and will reportedly propose edits in an effort to address all parties’ interests and concerns.

U.S. Payroll Tax-Cut Conferees Standing Firm on Differences

Bloomberg (01/19/12) Kathleen Hunter; Steven Sloan

Congressional negotiators are refusing to move from positions that could delay discussions to extend a payroll tax cut through the end of this year. A House-Senate conference committee aimed at breaking the deadlock may convene as soon as Jan. 24. Democrats want to impose a tax on income exceeding $1 million and are warning Republicans against attempting to attach policy proposals that are not linked to the tax cut. Republicans oppose the tax on high-income earners to fund the extension, while insisting that the total $100 billion package must be offset.

Pepsi’s $3 Million, Racially Biased Background Check

Reuters (01/17/12) Stephanie Rabiner

Pepsi Beverages Co. will pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants, even if they were not convicted of a crime. The settlement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is part of a national government crackdown on hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

The Pepsi settlement is not the first time the agency has targeted such criminal background check policies, and some observers predict that these types of enforcement actions will only increase with time. Employers may want to review how they use criminal background checks, as a wholesale refusal to hire persons with arrest records can result in trouble for the firm. Consideration should be given to using the U.S. Department of Labor’s Federal Bonding Program that will give a company six months of free “dishonesty” insurance if an at-risk, hard-to-place job seeker is hired.

Warehouse Workers Who Prompted State Investigation Could Lose Jobs

Huffington Post (01/18/12) Dave Jamieson

Nearly a hundred warehouse workers in California who spoke up about alleged wage violations and unsafe working conditions are concerned they now may lose their jobs. The workers filed a class action lawsuit in the fall against staffing company Rogers-Premier Unloading Services, their employer, and against Schneider Logistics, the company that is contracted by Walmart to oversee the Riverside County warehouse, where workers load and unload goods destined for Walmart stores. The workers contended that they often were not paid the legal minimum wage or overtime and were threatened with termination when they complained.

The workers say they have been notified by management that their jobs will end on Feb. 24, when a contract between Rogers-Premier and Schneider apparently comes to a close. Erin Elliott, a spokeswoman for Schneider, says that the move is “solely the decision of Rogers-Premier.”

The Current State of E-Verify—A Brief Look at State-Level E-Verify Requirements Beginning in 2012

LawLogix Group (01/06/12)

E-Verify, the federal government’s electronic employment eligibility verification program, is increasingly becoming mandatory, and employers must understand how to use the system through an ever-expanding web of state requirements. At last count, nine states require E-Verify for all or most employers. States with new E-Verify laws effective Jan. 1, 2012, include Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Many of these state laws have been enacted without any accompanying guidance, making it important for employers to make a coordinated effort to successfully manage their I-9 and E-Verify obligations by working closely with experienced immigration counsel to ensure compliance with both state and federal rules. Employers are also well-advised to use an integrated I-9/E-Verify system that can automatically control the submission of I-9s to E-Verify by work location or impose other state-specific rules which may be in effect.

Recruiting: Go Hi-Tech or Go Home

Staffing Industry Analysts (01/18/12)

The latest Staffing Industry Analysts survey finds that 76% of staffing firms are expecting to increase recruiter hiring over the next 12 months. Staffing firms now consider recruitment of talent a bigger challenge than selling their services. In the current talent and recruitment environment, some companies are shifting their spending into more high-tech strategies, such as shifting attention from job boards to professional networking platforms and from transactional applicant tracking systems to more powerful candidate relationship management systems that leverage technology to engage candidates in more pervasive, contemporary ways.

Hiring Demand for Recruiters Grows in 2011, Up 4% During December

PRWeb (01/18/12)

Employers and staffing firms placed more than 3,900 job ads for recruiters and employment specialists in December, according to Wanted Analytics. The volume of job ads for recruiters increased 4% compared to December 2010 and 45% from December 2009. The number of companies that placed job ads for recruiters increased 37% in December, as more than 1,700 organizations advertised recruiter job openings. Staffing firms placed approximately 1,800 job ads for recruiters.