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Staffing Employment Up 4.2% From a Year Ago

Staffing employment is up 4.2% from February 2011 to February 2012, according to the ASA Staffing Index. The index for February is 87, up one point from the 86 reported for January. Typically, staffing employment peaks between mid-November and mid-December, after which it dramatically declines for several weeks before turning upward in mid-January. Since the beginning of 2012, staffing employment has grown 15.8%, according to the index.
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CIBER Reports Fourth Quarter 2011 Results

CIBER News Release (02/23/12)

CIBER Inc. today reported results for the fourth quarter of 2011. The company anticipates completing the sale of its federal division in the first quarter of 2012 and therefore the federal division’s results are not included in results from continuing operations. CIBER reported revenue of $238.9 million from continuing operations for the fourth quarter 2011, a 5% decrease from the same period in 2010. Net income was reported at $2.2 million for the quarter, compared with a net loss of $1.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2010. The North American division, 43% of consolidated revenue, saw revenue of $101.8 million, a decline of 12% compared with 2010’s fourth quarter.

Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Held Last Week at Four-Year Low of 351,000

Bloomberg (02/23/12) Alex Kowalski

Jobless claims in the U.S. were unchanged last week at a seasonally adjusted 351,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today, more evidence the labor market is improving. The median projection in a Bloomberg News survey called for 355,000 claims, marking the fourth straight week that the figures have been better than forecast. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls dropped to the lowest level since August 2008.

The four-week average of claims, meanwhile, fell by 7,000 to 359,000, the lowest level since March 2008. The drop in jobless claims indicates companies may be growing more optimistic about the outlook for the economy, and could set the stage for bigger gains in hiring.

7 Really Important Charts From Obama’s Economic Report

Daily Finance (02/22/2012) Morgan Housel

The economic report released last week by the Obama administration includes dozens of tables and charts, highlighting data on multiple facets of the economy—including one on the declining labor participation rate for young workers. The chart indicates that the percentage of working-age people with a job has been falling since the late 1990s and has accelerated over the past few years. Fewer young adults are in the labor force, but more are enrolled in college. Another chart in the report shows that people with a college degree have seen increases in their income, while those without a degree have seen their income decline.

ManpowerGroup’s Jeff Joerres on the Skills Gap

Forbes (02/22/12) Rich Karlgaard

Jeff Joerres, chief executive of ManpowerGroup, says companies no longer hire workers in anticipation of increased demand, as they can see instant changes in their supply chains and hire only when they see demand. He believes a skills mismatch will make it difficult to get the U.S. unemployment rate under 6%, noting that since 2006, there has been evidence that companies have evolved their specific needs at a faster pace than people evolved their specific skills.

Joerres says the skills gap has grown since the recession because companies grow through productivity and efficiency, not through raw demand. “Every job has to be productive and efficient,” he says. “Companies are therefore highly selective in adding jobs. They know exactly what they need and when they need it.” He adds that it might be more beneficial for students to attend a trade school than a four-year college.

ASAPro Webinar Today—Learn Best Practices for Drug and Alcohol Testing

This afternoon from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time, attend the ASAPro Webinar “Best Practices for Drug and Alcohol Testing—What You Need to Know,” presented by Frederick T. Smith, Esq., partner in the Atlanta office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

During this ASAPro Webinar, you will learn the steps to follow when implementing drug testing, common signs and symptoms of illegal drug use, and much more.

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

Reserve Your Suite in Las Vegas for Staffing World® 2012

Recently, ASA announced that Jim Collins will be the featured keynote speaker at Staffing World 2012, Oct 9–11 in Las Vegas.

Planning to attend? Get the special ASA group rate of $249 for a single or double at the all-suite Venetian Resort Hotel Casino—the location of this year’s ASA annual convention. Make reservations by calling 877-283-6423 and asking for the ASA Staffing World 2012 convention group rate. Group rates apply for reservations made by Sept. 17, subject to room availability. After Sept. 17, reservations will be accepted at the hotel’s prevailing rate.

Updates on additional keynotes and other top-tier content will be coming soon. For more information, visit staffingworld.org.

Commissioned Recruiters Found Exempt From California Overtime Rules

American Staffing Association (02/23/12) Richard J. Simmons

Both California and federal laws contain overtime pay exemptions for commissioned employees who qualify under the “inside sales” or “commission employees” exemption. On Jan. 24, a California Court of Appeal examined the California state law exemption in Muldrow v. Surrex Solutions Corp. The trial court determined that overtime wages were not owed under California law to a class of recruiters because they were subject to the commissioned employee exemption in California Wage Order 7.

Pursuant to the exemption, employers are not required to pay overtime wages to an employee “whose earnings exceed one and one-half times the minimum wage if more than half of that employee’s compensation represents commissions.” The court of appeal agreed that the recruiters were exempt. An analysis of the ruling was drafted for ASA members by outside counsel Richard J. Simmons, Esq., of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Labor Union Files Federal Lawsuit Over Indiana’s ‘Right to Work’ Law

Indianapolis Star (02/23/12) Mary Beth Schneider

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 has brought a lawsuit over Indiana’s “right to work” law, arguing it violates both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. Under right to work, businesses are prohibited from negotiating a contract that requires nonmembers to pay fees for representation. Gov. Mitch Daniels, who signed the right to work legislation Feb. 1, says the law is needed to foster job creation and to prevent workers from being required to support a union financially. Opponents say the law will result in a decline in wages and will not attract high-paying jobs. The lawsuit says the law violates the contracts clause in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution because it hinders contractual relationships and violates equal protection clauses by treating employees differently.

Legal Alert: Ninth Circuit Invalidates Contractual Choice of Law Provision

JDSupra (02/22/2012)

A class action lawsuit filed against the transportation company Affinity Logistics in California by one of its drivers accuses the company of violating state law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay overtime, among other things. However, the company requires its drivers to sign written agreements classifying them as independent contractors and including a choice of law provision indicating that Georgia law will govern any disputes.

The Ninth Circuit refused to enforce the choice of law provision, determining that applying Georgia law would contravene an important public policy of California as it undermines California’s employee protection laws. The court also said California has a greater interest in the outcome of the case than Georgia, as the agreement was forged in California, the driver worked and lived in California, and the deliveries under the contract were in California. The only connection to Georgia was that it is the state where Affinity is incorporated.

As a result of the case, California employers should ensure that any agreement classifying workers as independent contractors meets the state’s multifactor test that distinguishes between independent contractors and employees.

Got Independent Contractors? (Are You Sure?)

Mondaq (02/17/12) Bryan Lazarski

A common issue facing many employers is the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. A dangerous but pervasive myth is that a company can simply agree with a worker that he or she shall be treated as an independent contractor. The truth is, whether a worker qualifies as an independent contractor or an employee is determined by the realities of the relationship between the parties, which cannot be overcome by agreement or contract.

Federal and state enforcement agencies apply a multifactor analysis to analyze classifications. Ultimately, though, the main distinction boils down to whether the employer has the right to control only the result of the work or if it also controls the manner and means of how the work will be done. If it is the latter, the worker is probably an employee.

There are several things to consider when reclassifying a worker to employee status, including the possibility of owing back taxes, having liability for unpaid overtime, and being subject to other fines and penalties. If done correctly, though, a voluntary reclassification can significantly reduce or eliminate a firm’s risk of a much costlier lawsuit.

U.S. Supreme Court Leaves Intact Decision Refusing to Extend the Fair Labor Standards Act’s Anti-Retaliation Provision to Prospective Employees

JDSupra (02/22/2012) Michael S. Arnold

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to take up the issue of whether the Fair Labor Standards Act’s antiretaliation component is applicable to prospective workers, leaving intact a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision barring FLSA antiretaliation claims by prospective employees. According to the Fourth Circuit, the antiretaliation component applies only to current and former employees. In the case the Fourth Circuit considered, Dellinger v. SAIC, the court concluded that because the FLSA only allows “employees” to sue their “employers” for retaliation, an employer cannot retaliate against an individual it never hired. Had the case been brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, however, the results very well may have been different, because Title VII prohibits retaliation against job applicants.

HIMSS: Staffing Shortages Replace Money Concerns as Main Health IT Barrier

Cardiovascular Business (02/22/12) Mary Tierney

Staffing shortages have overtaken concerns about lack of adequate financial support as the top barrier to implementing information technology, according to the latest Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society leadership survey. The results include the input of 302 health care IT professionals who represent more than 600 U.S. hospitals.

The top IT staffing need listed in the survey is clinical application support—followed by network and architecture support, clinical informatics, system integration, IT security, clinical transformation, database administration, PC and server support, process and workflow, and system design and implementation. Approximately 61% of the health IT leaders surveyed expect to increase their staff in 2012

Construction Hiring Starting to Gain Momentum

Bloomberg (02/22/12)

Construction hiring is on an upswing as people invest in home renovations amid indications that the housing market is improving. Another hiring driver comes from “pent-up demand” by people who can’t afford to move, says Ellen Zentner, a senior economist at Nomura Securities International. The number of people working in residential remodeling climbed 5.8% in December to 250,700, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, the number of residential remodelers lags behind the September 2006 peak by more than 76,000, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Small Business Hiring: Things Are Finally Looking Up

Business Insider (02/22/12)

About 22% of small-business owners expect to hire more workers this year, according to a recent Gallup–Wells Fargo poll, while just 8% plan to decrease the number of jobs in their firms. The survey shows that hiring plans have returned to levels not seen since January 2008, at the beginning of the recession. Around 26% of small-business owners are seeking full-time workers, while 36% want to hire part-time employees. Another 36% favor temporary or contract workers. Last year, only 13% of those polled increased their work force, while 22% reduced the number of jobs.

A recent Citibank small-business survey also indicates increased confidence among small firms. More than 25% of respondents plan to boost the number of permanent full-time workers this year, up 12% from January 2011, and 22% will hire full-time seasonal workers.

New Poll Shows Majority of Family Firms Optimistic in Hiring, Retaining Employees in 2012

MarketWatch (02/22/12)

A recent survey of 300 family owned firm executives by Family Enterprise USA indicates that over the next 12 months, 54% plan to hire more workers and just 8% plan to decrease their work force. Only 34% have reduced their work force in response to the recession, even though more than half of the executives polled said their revenue had declined or remained flat. Over the past couple of years, 33% of family owned firms that have been in business for 60 to 100 years were able to expand their work force despite the economic downturn. However, 44% of respondents said uncertainty in regards to the tax code and government regulation is an obstacle to job growth.