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Express Employment Professionals Reports Record Year for 2011; Sales Up 22%

Yahoo! Finance (01/24/12)

Express Employment Professionals reports that 2011 sales increased by 22% to top $2.1 billion, as businesses continue to rely heavily on temporary staffing solutions amid an uncertain economy. Express helped the most people in its 29-year history—more than 335,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada—find a job in 2011. Express associates worked an average of 2.4 million hours per week at more than 550 franchise locations in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa.

In the two years after the Great Recession ended in June 2009, U.S. staffing firms created more new jobs than any other industry, according to the American Staffing Association.

Wall Street Transcript Interviews Randstad Head Gregory Netland

Yahoo! Finance (01/24/12)

Gregory Netland, North American chief executive officer and executive board member of Randstad, talked about the firm’s strategies in an interview with The Wall Street Transcript. Randstad “is very focused on continuous market share gains. We want to be in the top three in every major market around the world,” according to Netland. He says the company has “a focus on shaping the world of work, and that focus is on providing added value to our candidates, added value to our clients, and being a leader in the industry, both from a what-we-do perspective and how-we-do-it perspective.” Netland notes Randstad has become the No. 2 human resource services organization in the world, and says that “the U.S. [market] will, on a go-forward basis, be around 20% of revenue.”

TEKsystems Survey Reveals IT Job Seekers Crave a More Personal Touch in the Job Search Process

MarketWatch (01/24/12)

Information technology staffing solutions firm TEKsystems reports its quarterly IT Professional Perspectives Survey found IT professionals primarily value clear and realistic views of a job opportunity and feedback throughout the hiring process. “As IT professionals go through their own process of job searching, organizations should go through a similar self-evaluation to determine what skills, knowledge, and abilities enable people to excel within their organization,” says TEKsystems director, Rachel Russell. “Job boards present challenges to employers due to the abundance of résumés and the tendency for skill exaggeration on résumés. The unrivaled leader in terms of effective job search tactics is networking. Credible referrals from people you trust are the best avenue to a new job that’s a truly good fit.”

When asked who they consult with most frequently during the job search process, 59% of IT professionals report the No. 1 resource they confer with is a recruiter. “IT professionals want to talk with someone who can shed real light on an opportunity rather than just sharing what’s written on the job description. Many IT hiring managers are just too busy to make all these calls and share all this information themselves; and a job board, of course, cannot speak to potential candidates. That’s where great recruiters come in,” states Russell.

Unemployment Rates Fall in Most States

Wall Street Journal Online (01/24/12) Josh Mitchell

New government data indicate the jobless rate fell in 37 states and Washington, DC, in December as the labor market strengthened. The Jan. 24 report shows the gains are spread across the nation, and that most of the gains are due to employers adding jobs rather than workers falling out of the labor force. The number of people with jobs rose in 25 states and Washington, DC. Jobs declined in 24 states and were unchanged in one state. Texas enjoyed the largest increase in nonfarm payrolls with 20,200 added jobs, followed by Indiana (15,000 new jobs) and California (10,700). New York, Missouri, and Washington state saw the biggest declines in jobs.

Job Market’s Split Personality

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (01/25/12)

The declining unemployment rate and increased reports of companies that are hiring paints the picture of an economy that is making progress, though it appears to be unsteady and uneven, with hiring up in some sectors and down in others. In Georgia—the only one of the nation’s dozen largest states that has not added jobs in the past 12 months—nearly 460,000 residents are unemployed and looking for work, and more than half of them have been out of work six months or longer.

However, the white-collar world has started to perk up, say some staffing companies. Tennille Hall, vice president of Accounting Principals Inc. in Atlanta, says she has seen increased demand for accountants and information technology specialists. “If you have a ‘demand skill-set,’ if you are dedicated and want to work, there’s a place for you,” she says. Hiring for marketing professionals has also been picking up, according to Jodi Gill, president of the Experts Bench in Duluth, GA. “We are starting to see money moving in the marketplace. Our business has almost doubled from a year ago,” she says. “We’ve especially had a lot of demand for consultants in the last 90 days.”

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A Tax Proposal Is Brought Out Again

New York Times (01/25/12) Jonathan Weisman

President Obama used his State of the Union address to once again propose ending tax incentives that move jobs overseas. Obama has promised since his 2008 campaign for the presidency to change tax measures that he says lure American companies to invest and expand overseas, but the proposals have gone nowhere in the face of stiff opposition from corporations that say the proposals would kill their economic competitiveness.

The proposals Obama unveiled Tuesday night would simplify those earlier measures by creating an international minimum tax that companies with overseas profits would have to pay. Currently, companies with overseas operations can park their foreign profits offshore indefinitely and tax free. Obama also proposed a lower tax rate for domestic manufacturers and additional tax breaks for high-tech manufacturing.

Division Over Payroll Tax Widens

Roll Call (01/25/12) Daniel Newhauser; Humberto Sanchez

Another hurdle was placed in the path of a bipartisan agreement to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of the year as top Senate Democrats on Jan. 24 called for a package of tax extenders to be included in conference committee discussions. The conferees have about a month to craft a deal, or payroll taxes will go up for millions of Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the committee to expand its portfolio and include extenders for more than 80 tax provisions that expired at the beginning of the new year, such as deductions for state and local taxes. “All these [tax credits] are extremely important and are job-creating in and of themselves,” says Reid. “I am afraid if we don’t do it now with this conference, we are not going to do it until the end of the year and a lot of businesses will be hurt.” Republicans, meanwhile, are insisting that a provision to hasten approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline be included in any final deal the committee produces. President Barack Obama earlier this month decided to at least temporarily deny a permit to build the pipeline.

Companies Pay Millions for Hiring Illegal Immigrants

Houston Chronicle (01/25/12) Susan Carroll

U.S. immigration officials and federal prosecutors announced on Jan. 24 they had reached a $2 million settlement with Advanced Containment System Inc. in exchange for avoiding criminal prosecution. Approximately 44% of ACI’s Houston work force from 2005 to 2009 was in the country illegally and was paid an estimated $2 million during that time. A second Houston company, Champion Window, also has agreed to forfeit $2 million to the government after an audit last year found 269 of its 451 workers—about 60% of its work force—lacked legal status.

“Each company is forfeiting a substantial amount of money,” says Robert Rutt, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations in Houston. “It sends a message that these actions—while not criminally prosecuted—still have consequences.” The deals are part of the Obama administration’s strategy to target employers that knowingly hire illegal immigrants, rather than staging high-profile workplace raids. In the 2010 fiscal year, U.S. immigration officials’ work site probes resulted in a record $36.6 million in judicial fines, forfeitures, and restitutions.

Indiana Moves Closer to Right-to-Work Law

Wall Street Journal (01/25/12) Jack Nicas

The Indiana General Assembly appears set to pass what would be the nation’s first right-to-work law in a decade. Rep. Patrick Bauer, the leader of the Indiana House Democrats, concedes that his party is losing its ability to block passage of the measure after House Republicans voted down Democrats’ amendment for a statewide referendum on the bill.

The proposed legislation would ban contracts that require all employees to pay union dues, whether or not they are union members. Supporters say a right-to-work law would lure businesses to Indiana, while opponents warn it would lead to lower wages. There are 22 right-to-work states, but most have low unionization rates. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and fellow Republicans in the Indiana legislature have sought to make their state the first right-to-work state in the heavily unionized upper Midwest, home to many of the nation’s manufacturing jobs.

Labor Forecast Predicts 5.0% Increase in Demand for Temporary Workers in 2012 First Quarter

G. Palmer & Associates (01/17/12)

Demand for temporary workers in the U.S. is expected to increase 5.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the 2012 first quarter, when compared with the same period in 2011, according to the latest Palmer Forecast. The Palmer Forecast indicated an 8.8% increase in temporary help for the just-ended 2011 fourth quarter. Actual results came in at a 6.2% increase, which was slightly lower than anticipated, reflecting delayed hiring due to uncertainties in the marketplace.

“Our forecast for the first quarter of 2012 follows recent trends showing growth and indicating another increase in demand for temporary workers, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases,” says Greg Palmer, founder and managing director of the staffing consulting firm G. Palmer & Associates. “However, there have been three consecutive months of downward year-over-year increases, compared with 2010. In addition, there was a surprising sequential decrease of 0.3% vs. the normal 0.3% seasonally adjusted increase from November to December, and a loss of 7,500 temporary jobs in the month of December.”