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QPS Employment Group Acquires Iowa Staffing Firm

QPS Employment Group News Release (02/14/12)

Brookfield, WI-based QPS Employment Group has acquired USA Staffing, a recruiting firm based in Ames, IA, that focuses on industrial, skilled trades, and clerical workers. QPS will be taking over ten locations in Iowa, immediately allowing QPS to cover the majority of the state. The company was acquired from owner and president Steve Risius, who will be staying on as a consultant.

With this acquisition, QPS will add an estimated 11% of business and will be increasing the number of branch locations by 50%. According to Dan McNulty, QPS’s chief operating officer, “This acquisition is the first step in our plan to increase our presence throughout the Midwest.”

States Where Workers See Hiring Increasing

MSNBC (02/14/12) Charles B. Stockdale; Michael B. Sauter

Gallup’s Job Creation Index shows that 31% of U.S. workers reported in 2011 that their companies were hiring, and only 18% indicated their firms were eliminating positions. An analysis of the index and other economic indicators by 24/7 Wall St. reveals eight states where residents believe most of the hiring is taking place. North Dakota leads the pack, with 42.4% of residents saying their employers are hiring. Iowa ranks second, with 34% of workers indicating their companies are hiring, followed by Oklahoma, Utah, and Nebraska. Rounding out the list are Indiana, West Virginia, and South Dakota.

Small Business Optimism Increases

Wall Street Journal Online (02/14/12) Kathleen Madigan

The National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index rose 0.1 point to 93.9 in January from 93.8 in December, the fifth consecutive month that small-business owner confidence increased. However, the better sentiment has not translated into more jobs.

“Owners became less pessimistic about the outlook for business conditions and real sales growth, but that optimism did not show up in hiring or spending for more inventories,” according to NFIB. Weak labor markets have been a key drag on the economic outlook. NFIB says that its member firms had a zero net increase in workers per firm last month, running counter to the strong payrolls report released by the U.S. Labor Department on Feb. 3. “The NFIB data suggest that there will be some downward revision in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers,” the NFIB report says.

Alabama’s Immigration Law Could Cost Billions Annually

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (02/14/12) Elizabeth Dwoskin

Alabama’s new strict immigration law has not had the effect its backers anticipated. Thousands of immigrants have left the state, but unemployed Alabamians are not taking on the jobs left behind, and employers are struggling to fill the jobs. A new study published by the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Alabama shows the economic impact of strict immigration laws such as the ones passed by Alabama and five other states. The law will likely annually shrink Alabama’s economy by at least $2.3 billion and cost the state about 70,000 jobs, mostly due to reduced demand for goods and services provided by Alabama businesses frequented by immigrants.

Get Help Answering RFIs and RFPs

Create effective proposals with help from ASA—member firms have access to free marketing tools that can help you grow your business. The ASA industry marketing tool kit suggests language you can use in your responses to requests for information (RFIs), requests for proposals (RFPs), and in client presentations. Browse sample RFI and RFP queries and responses and choose the ones that best fit your situation.

The ASA marketing tool kit is available at

Meet Industry Peers in Your Community

Right in your area, staffing and recruiting professionals are attending valuable educational programs, hosting networking functions, and monitoring and acting on important legislative initiatives that affect your business. You can join them by becoming a member of the ASA-affiliated chapter in your area.

ASA has chapters in most states and the District of Columbia. These chapters are independent state or local trade associations affiliated with ASA. Chapters serve as the voice of the staffing industry in communications with state and local association members, legislative leaders, regulators, news media, businesses, employees, and residents. Membership in ASA and your state or local chapter helps you stay abreast of national, state, and local issues, and gives you the tools you need to provide superior service to candidates and clients in your area.

Get involved with the chapter in your area today. For more information and to see a video of your peers sharing their chapter experiences, visit For more information, contact Tracy Rettie, assistant vice president, chapter relations and education, at 703-253-2028 or

Deal Reached on Payroll Tax

Wall Street Journal (02/15/12) Naftali Bendavid; Kristina Peterson

Congressional negotiators reached a tentative a deal Tuesday night on extending the current payroll-tax cut through Dec. 31, as well as continuing longer unemployment benefits and avoiding a steep cut in Medicare doctors’ fees. The agreement followed a significant concession from House Republicans earlier in the week when they acquiesced to extend the payroll-tax break without paying for spending cuts. The deal could be formalized as early as today.

April 1 Deadline for Filing H-1B Visa Petitions Approaches

JDSupra (02/14/2012)

The federal government will begin accepting the filing of H-1B worker petitions for fiscal year 2013 starting April 1, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will accept new petitions after April 1 until the H-1B cap is reached. The cap is 65,000 for FY 2012, with another 20,000 available for people who have earned at least a U.S. master’s degree. Although last year the cap was not reached until November, in previous years the cap was reached in the first few days of April, so employers are advised to have their petitions prepared for filing by March 30.

New Danger in Wage-and-Hour Disputes: Are You Prepared?

HR Morning (02/10/12) Tim Gould

A recent court case illustrates the growing danger to employers if they retaliate against wage-and-hour complaints. Kathy Minor was a medical technologist for Virginia-based Bostwick Laboratories. She and several co-workers met with Bostwick’s chief operating officer to complain that their supervisor altered workers’ time sheets on a regular basis to avoid showing the overtime hours they’d worked. Bostwick fired Minor within a week, saying there was “too much conflict with (her) supervisors and the relationship just (wasn’t) working.”

Minor sued, alleging the company fired her for making the complaint. In court, the company said it couldn’t be liable for retaliation, because an internal, informal complaint concerning a Fair Labor Standards Act issue isn’t protected and that a formal, official claim is the only activity covered under the statute. A lower court agreed with Bostwick, but an appeals court reversed the decision. The appeals court referenced a U.S. Supreme Court decision in which it ruled that an oral complaint could be protected under the FLSA if it’s “sufficiently clear … for a reasonable employer to understand it … as an assertion of rights under the statute.”

The bottom line for employers: Even the most casual mentions of possible wage-and-hour disputes may qualify as “claims”—and any action taken to discipline the employees involved might be considered retaliation by a judge.

DOJ’s Office of Special Counsel Lists Employer Best Practices During Worksite Enforcement Audits

Lexology (02/08/12)

There are several things employers undergoing audits by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should do, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. They should have a transparent process in place for communicating with employees during the audit, give employees a reasonable length of time to correct discrepancies in their records, and treat all workers the same regardless of their national origin or citizenship status. Additionally, companies should let unions know about the ICE audit, inform employees of the audit when requesting information related to the audit, and ensure that the information sought is described in writing.

Employers should not verify the employment eligibility of certain workers based on national origin or citizenship status or issue terminations or suspensions without notice or without giving employees time to submit valid Form I-9 documents. Among other things, employees who look or sound foreign should not be treated differently.

Health Costs, Government Regulations Curb Small Business Hiring

Gallup Economy (02/15/12) Dennis Jacobe

Some 85% of U.S. small-business owners say they aren’t hiring. The reasons include not needing additional workers (76%); concerns about weak business conditions, including revenues (71%); the overall U.S. economy (66%); and cash flow or ability to make payroll (53%). Furthermore, almost half of small-business owners cite potential health care costs (48%) and government regulations (46%) as factors. A quarter are not hiring because they are concerned they may go out of business within the next year.

Linux Professionals in High Demand: Report

Muktware (02/15/2012) Swapnil Bhartiya

Of the more than 2,000 hiring managers at corporations, small and medium businesses, government organizations, and staffing firms worldwide polled by the Linux Foundation and Dice, 81% say hiring Linux talent is a priority this year. Linux talent with three to five years of experience is sought by 75% of respondents. However, 85% of respondents say it is somewhat to very difficult to find Linux talent, which observers say should prompt college students to consider Linux as a career. During the first half of 2012, 47% plan to hire more Linux professionals than they did during the last half of 2011.

Linux professionals saw their salaries rise 5% from 2010 to 2011, compared with a 2% increase for other tech professionals. Bonuses for Linux professionals surged 15%. With regard to perks, 37% of employers offer flexible schedules to Linux talent, 30% provide additional training and certification programs, and 28% offer bigger salary increases than the company norm.