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ASA Releases Medical Marijuana Issue Paper

American Staffing Association (02/13/12) Anne Duffy

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws decriminalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, raising questions about whether staffing firms doing business in these jurisdictions must accommodate medicinal use of marijuana or can refuse to hire or can terminate individuals because of their marijuana use. To help ASA members navigate these issues, ASA has published an issue paper by Frederick T. Smith, Esq., of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

Although the reach of the new laws and their effect on the workplace have not been fully addressed by courts, the ASA issue paper provides timely practical guidance on how staffing firms can address workers’ use of medicinal marijuana. The issue paper “The Straight Dope on Medical Marijuana” is available to ASA members at

Forecasters See Stronger Labor Market

U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (02/10/12)

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s first-quarter survey of professional forecasters has revised up the estimated job growth to average 144,100 per month in 2012. The previous forecast had estimated an average of 123,200 new jobs a month for the year. The U.S. unemployment rate for 2012 is now forecast to average 8.3%, down from the previous estimate of 8.8%.

Forecasters estimated growth in U.S. real gross domestic product for full-year 2012 at 2.3%, down from a previous estimate of 2.4%. Growth is projected to pick up through 2015 when forecasters estimate 3.1% growth.

Thousands of Jobs Expected for Skilled, Educated

Dayton Daily News (Ohio) (02/12/12) Cornelius Frolik

A new study by Wright State University’s Center for Urban and Public Affairs indicates that the number of job openings in computer science, insurance, and finance and accounting will surpass the number of college graduates with relevant degrees. The study suggests that young graduates with the right skills will have a competitive edge when seeking employment, as many of the state’s unemployed workers are not qualified for these jobs. The study expects job openings to rise 13% between 2011 and 2016 in the finance and accounting industry, 8% in computer science, and 6% in the insurance industry.

Ryan Hunt, career adviser with ASA corporate partner CareerBuilder, says some employers are having trouble finding eligible candidates because the fastest-growing job fields generally require workers who are highly skilled and highly educated. A lack of qualified candidates means 35% of information technology companies and 33% of financial service companies had positions that could not be filled, according to a 2012 survey from CareerBuilder.

Last Chance to Participate in the ASA Quarterly Employment and Sales Survey

The ASA quarterly survey on temporary and contract staffing closes today.

The Web-based survey, which collects data on sales, payroll, and employment, takes only about 15 minutes to complete. Participants receive a free exclusive report on the results, which includes payroll data available nowhere else. ASA corporate partner Inavero, a market research firm, administers the survey to ensure confidentiality of participant data.

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

Introducing Sections Sound-Off

What do you think will be the trends to watch this year in the sector your staffing firm serves? How do you think the sector could change in 2012?

Find out how your peers answered this question in the latest issue of Staffing Success. Sections Sound-Off is a new column that highlights answers to intriguing questions from members in five different sectors: health care; industrial; professional; search and placement; and technical, information technology, and scientific.

To learn more about sector-specific resources, visit or contact Diana Mertz, senior manager, sections, at 703-253-1171 or

ASAPro Webinar—The True Business Value of Social Media

Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time, attend the ASAPro Webinar “Social Media—Get Beyond the Hype and Find Out the True Business Value.”

During this ASAPro Webinar, David Searns and Brad Smith of Haley Marketing Group will show you how staffing and recruiting firms are leveraging social networks in their sales and recruiting efforts.

ASAPro Webinars are free for ASA members ($295 for nonmembers) and qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Register online at

Weekend Payroll-Tax-Cut Talks Fail

Politico (02/12/2012) Jake Sherman; Manu Raju

Talks between the two top tax writers in Congress this weekend failed to bridge partisan differences over the payroll tax cut package, increasing the odds of another Washington showdown ahead of an end-of-the-month deadline. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) exchanged offers throughout the weekend in an attempt to cut a deal on extending the payroll tax holiday and jobless benefits for millions of Americans. Talks appeared to turn sour late Sunday, with Republican aides accusing the Democrats of trying to scuttle the negotiations to provoke a crisis for political gain. Democrats dismissed that characterization, saying Republicans were holding up a deal by refusing to negotiate seriously over taxes and calling for unrelated policy riders.

The Hidden Messages in EEOC’s ‘Official’ Agenda

HR Morning (02/10/12) Tim Gould

In its recently released draft strategic plan, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission indicates that it will maintain its aggressive approach to enforcing workplace discrimination laws despite budget cuts. The EEOC will continue to concentrate on “systemic discrimination,” in which a pattern of hiring or screening procedures could lead to a certain group of employees or applicants being discriminated against, and will take a holistic approach to investigating and litigating complaints, which means employers will need to provide more documentation earlier in the process. Additionally, the EEOC will turn its attention to “targeted, equitable relief” for “all employees and job seekers,” and observers believe relief will mean more than just additional training for supervisors and outside monitoring of employment practices.

Arizona Softens Tone on Illegal Immigrants

Wall Street Journal (02/13/12) Miriam Jordan

Since passing legislation in 2010 that made being an undocumented immigrant a crime and required police to make inquiries about immigration status, Arizona may be easing its approach to illegal immigration. The “Arizona Accord,” rolled out by business, civic, and religious leaders in January, calls for solutions on the federal level, emphasizes immigrants’ economic contributions, supports keeping families together, and encourages inclusion. Some lawmakers who supported state measures to crack down on illegal immigration now question the effectiveness of such a law and believe state and federal agencies can collaborate on a solution.

Meanwhile, a measure being considered in the current legislative session would ease a 2007 law cracking down on employers of illegal immigrants, providing a safe harbor for businesses that use the E-Verify system to check a worker’s status. Business leaders say the 2010 law hurt the tourism and convention industry and put a damper on some businesses, which were questioned about the status of their employees.

Minimum-Wage Rolls Drive Albany Debate

Wall Street Journal (02/13/12) Joseph de Avila

The number of people in New York state earning minimum wage has risen significantly since the beginning of the recession, one of the factors driving a debate in Albany over whether to raise the rate. Last year, the number of workers earning minimum wage was about 91,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, up sharply form 2008, when approximately 6,000 people earned the minimum wage. Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is backing a bill that seeks to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, which would be indexed annually to the inflation rate.

Cities Use E-Verify While State Considers Banning It

Columbian (Washington) (02/12/12) Ray Legendre

Although three counties and 11 cities in Washington State have followed in the footsteps of Clark County in requiring that its contractors use the federal E-Verify system to make sure public works projects employ legal workers, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent them from doing so. Under House Bill 2568, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (D-Seattle), cities and counties could not require the use of E-Verify.

Supporters of the legislation say mandating E-Verify would cost more than $2 billion and hurt industries that rely on migrant workers. Officials whose jurisdictions use E-Verify, however, say it ensures compliance with federal law. In 2009, a joint legislative task force said the state lost $111 million in revenue from the construction industry, amounting to 5% of total lost revenue, due to illegal workers.

Ambulatory Setting Expected to Provide More Job Growth Than Hospitals

American Medical News (02/13/12) Victoria Stagg Elliott

Over the next decade, as the population ages, the number of ambulatory care sector jobs likely will grow quicker than those for inpatient services and other sectors of the health care job market. The number of jobs in doctors’ offices will rise 32.7% from 2,315,800 in 2010 to 3,073,600 in 2020, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospitals will add more jobs, but the growth will be slower, rising from 5,695,900 jobs at hospitals in 2010 to 6,638,400 by 2020. The BLS report indicates job creation in doctors’ offices will be largely driven by new positions for managers, physician assistants, nurses, medical assistants, financial clerks, administrators, physicians, and surgeons.

Law Firms Are Flocking to Washington

Washington Post (02/13/12) Catherine Ho

Law firms of all sizes are opening Washington, DC, offices at an increased rate in order to position themselves for work centered around the capital’s regulatory apparatus. A Washington office “can make clients feel like they have people at the center of the regulatory universe,” says Jeffrey Lowe, managing partner of the DC office of legal staffing firm Major, Lindsey & Africa. “There’s a prestige factor there.”

The influx comes as the legal industry emerges from a downturn during which many big firms shed attorneys and staff. “There was a time when there was very little activity because firms were just not investing when the economy was totally uncertain,” says Steve Nelson, managing principal for the law and government affairs groups at the McCormick Group, an Arlington, VA-based executive search firm. “You saw that in 2008, 2009, and even 2010. But now I think leadership of firms have a good idea of the economic trends that affect them, and they’re seeing that DC is important because of some of the regulatory and government issues.”

The 10 Best Cities for Social Media Job Seekers (02/12/12) Elana Zak

According to Internet marketing staffing firm OnwardSearch, New York City has the highest volume of social media jobs of any city in the country. New York is followed by San Jose, CA; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Boston; Washington, DC; Baltimore; Chicago; Seattle; and Philadelphia.

Staffing Firm Ranks Orlando Among Best Cities for IT Hiring in 2012

Orlando Sentinel (Florida) (02/09/12) Jim Stratton

Modis, an information technology staffing and recruitment firm based in Jacksonville, FL, has released a list of the top 12 cities in the U.S. and Canada for IT jobs in 2012, with Houston, Toronto, Orlando, San Francisco, and Minneapolis as the top five. Orlando made the list in part because of the Medical City project, which will bring 10,000 new jobs to the city and increase opportunities for those seeking jobs in health care IT. The area’s IT jobs likely will be in life sciences, health care, telecommunications, hospitality, financial services, modeling, and simulation and require candidates have knowledge of network administration, software engineering, project management, and Web development. The rest of the cities on the top 12 list for IT jobs are McLean, VA; Walnut Creek, CA; Detroit; Jacksonville; New York; Denver; and Boston.