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On Call Counsel Acquires Selected Assets of Peak Counsel

On Call Counsel News Release (02/28/12)

On Call Counsel, a division of the TemPositions Group of Cos. with operations in California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, has acquired selected assets of Peak Counsel, a New York-based attorney and paralegal staffing business. As part of the agreement, Arnold Schlanger and Leyda Mata, two key executives from Peak Counsel, will establish an On Call Counsel New York City office. Schlanger will serve as managing director and Mata as managing director of recruitment. The transaction will now provide On Call Counsel with a significant presence in the New York legal market in addition to their existing strength in California.

Economy Picks Up Pace, but Risks Remain

Wall Street Journal (03/02/12) Ben Casselman; Jon Hilsenrath

A host of reports Thursday indicate that the U.S. economy is finally showing signs of moving onto firmer ground. However the economy is far from robust. Consumer spending has been mixed, and the manufacturing sector, though on the rebound, is not booming, according to a survey of manufacturing purchasing managers by the Institute for Supply Management.

One big worry at the U.S. Federal Reserve is that household incomes have not been growing fast enough to support much additional spending. The U.S. Commerce Department said on March 1 that wage and salary income in January was 5% higher than a year earlier, the fourth straight month of gains of 5% or higher, which hasn’t happened since late 2007. But after adjusting for inflation, income and spending have seen only modest gains in recent months.

The latest signs of growth are met with caution by those who recall that in 2010 and 2011, the recovery seemed to start the year with momentum but petered out by summer. Still, many business executives say they are prepared to move ahead with hiring and investment growth plans despite their lingering uncertainties about the outlook.

Drop in Unemployment Claims Points to Strong February Hiring, but Spending, Incomes Still Weak

Associated Press (03/01/12) Christopher Rugaber; Derek Kravitz

Steady declines in applications for unemployment aid are pointing to another strong month of hiring in February. Meanwhile, manufacturing growth slowed and construction spending dipped, while auto and retail sales both climbed. The mixed data suggest the recovery will stay bumpy. Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Market, notes: “Stronger job creation is not generating more spending.”

Many economists predict employers added more than 200,000 net jobs in February for the third straight month. “The labor market appears to have strengthened markedly over the last few months,” says Paul Ashworth, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics. Ashworth predicts the economy added 220,000 net jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell for the sixth straight month, to 8.2%.

ASA Helps You Share Positive Facts About the Industry

An exposé recounting a reporter’s experience working as a temporary associate in a Mississippi fulfillment warehouse appeared as the cover story for the March–April issue of Mother Jones, a magazine specializing in investigative, political, and social justice reporting. The author—who was hired through a staffing company—was sharply critical of the working conditions she faced during the assignment. The story has been cited in blogs published on Web sites of Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, and Business Insider.

The vast majority of news stories about the industry are—unlike this article—favorable, largely because of the ASA “Hard Facts, Human Faces” campaign to deliver five key industry messages: jobs, flexibility, bridge, choice, and training. Research shows that these messages nearly double positive public opinions about the staffing industry. Become a talent advocate by familiarizing yourself with these Staffing Facts and answers to Staffing FAQs from ASA.

Win Over Potential Clients and Candidates

The newly updated “Why Staffing?” brochure is now available to ASA members at a significantly reduced price of $39 per 100. That’s nearly 50% off the previous price.

This straightforward brochure easily complements your efforts to explain to potential clients and candidates that
  • Flexibility, training, and choice add up to very high job satisfaction for staffing employees.
  • Staffing firms provide qualified employees who fill a broad range of assignments.
  • Staffing firms fuel the economy with millions of workers who get the job done right, right now.
The brochure is not only easy to understand, it also is a great way to enhance your firm’s marketing efforts—so your business can win the best clients and candidates to grow in 2012.

Read more about the new 2012 “Why Staffing?” brochure and see how a simple message can really expand your client base.

ASA Supports Efforts to Promote Employers’ Use of Criminal Background Checks

American Staffing Association (03/02/12) Anne Duffy

ASA is participating in a coalition of business groups concerned that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s plans to revise its longstanding guidance on criminal history checks will make it more difficult for employers to review the criminal histories of job applicants and volunteers. Earlier this month, the coalition sent a letter to federal lawmakers emphasizing the positive aspects of criminal background checks and the concerns over the potential guidance that may inhibit employers’ use of these checks. Part of the concern is that the EEOC does not intend to publish its revisions for public comment prior to issuance, which would preclude meaningful consideration of employers’ concerns.

EEOC has a longstanding position that an employer’s policy of excluding an individual from employment because the individual has a criminal conviction record is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unless the policy is justified by a business necessity. Advocates for limiting employers’ use of background checks contend that the use of background checks adversely affects members of minority populations that are statistically more likely to have criminal histories.

Nation’s Toughest Immigration Law Stays Put for Now

NPR Online (03/01/12) Corey Dade

A panel of three judges from an Atlanta federal appeals court decided March 1 to delay action on immigration lawsuits in Georgia and Alabama. Parts of Alabama’s immigration law will stay in effect until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar Arizona immigration law. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of Arizona’s enforcement policy on April 25. Six states have passed legislation similar to Alabama’s, and the U.S. Justice Department has sued to block them all on the grounds the enforcement role is solely the purview of the federal government.

Executives Project Second-Quarter Hiring Plans

Robert Half International News Release (02/29/12)

A new Robert Half survey indicates that hiring in professional fields is likely to continue increasing in the second quarter, but at a slower pace than forecast for the first quarter. A net 2% of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report plan to add full-time staff in the second three months of 2012, down from 10% last quarter. The biggest trend in the survey is the increase in the number of respondents who anticipate no change in hiring activity: 89%, compared with 78% last quarter.

The survey also finds that 5% of executives anticipate bringing in additional staff, and 3% expect personnel reductions. The legal field is again expected to see the strongest hiring activity, with a net 22% of lawyers planning to increase staff levels. Meanwhile, 61% of those surveyed reported recruiting challenges.

Where the Jobs Are, the Training May Not Be

New York Times (03/02/12) Catherine Rampell

The Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University reports a 7.6% decrease in state appropriations for colleges in 2011-12, marking the biggest yearly decline in 50 years. Although technical, engineering, and health care expertise is in high demand, the drop in state funding has prompted many public colleges, having already hiked tuition rates, to cut training in these fields. For instance, engineering and computer science departments have been eliminated in public colleges in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Colorado, Michigan, Florida, and Texas. Other colleges have stopped expanding, which forces students to stay in school longer to take required classes, boosts their debt, and increases dropout rates.