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Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level in Four Years

Bloomberg (03/22/12) Shobhana Chandra

The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 5,000 last week to 348,000, the lowest level since February 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 353,000 from 351,000. The median forecast of 46 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 350,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those getting extended payments also fell. Dismissals have been waning and reports show companies are becoming more willing to expand work forces amid evidence sales are improving.

Analysis: U.S. Job Gains Hint at More Spending and Hiring

Reuters (03/22/12) Lucia Mutikani

Economists say the recent acceleration in U.S. job growth could create a virtuous cycle, generating additional income for more Americans and leading to increased spending, faster growth, and further hiring. On an annualized basis, the 734,000 jobs created over the past three months probably generated about $360 billion in additional income, when taking into account the modest rise in hourly earnings and longer working hours.

Strong job growth and healthy income gains have been the missing ingredients in the recovery from the 2007-09 recession. While growth in per capita wages is still restrained by the huge number of Americans hunting for work, the situation should improve as the labor market strengthens. “With employment gains starting to accelerate, it’s certainly something that will push income growth to be more consistent with employment growth, and therefore it creates a virtuous cycle that we are all waiting for,” says Torsten Slok, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank in New York. Every gain of 100,000 in payrolls should lead to monthly income growth of 0.2% to 0.3%, according to Millan Mulraine, senior macro strategist at TD Securities in New York.

Minnesota Ups Minority Hiring Goals as Twin Cities Grow More Diverse (03/21/12) Frederick Melo

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s office and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has announced new county-specific targets for minority hiring. Construction companies funded by the state will have to double or almost triple their minority hiring goals. The minority hiring goal in Hennepin and Ramsey counties will be 32%. The goal in Annoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott, and Washington counties will be 22%. Previously the goal was 18% for especially large projects and 11% for smaller projects. The goal for female hiring will be 6%.

Staffing World® 2012: Liz Wiseman Joins Keynote Speaker Lineup

ASA has announced that Liz Wiseman, bestselling author and highly sought-after leadership strategist, has joined the exciting lineup of keynote speakers at Staffing World 2012, Oct. 9-11, in Las Vegas.

Wiseman is well-known for the groundbreaking strategies presented in her book, Multipliers—a top 20 leadership book on Multipliers are leaders who amplify the capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, light bulbs turn on over people’s heads, ideas flow, and problems get solved.

Learn more about Wiseman and her can’t-miss keynote address at Staffing World 2012.

ASA recently announced that Jim Collins, the highly acclaimed author and business strategist, will also headline Staffing World 2012. Collins invites staffing executives to be Great by Choice, the title of his newest bestseller. Learn more about what Collins has in store for staffing industry executives.

Connect With Staffing Industry Peers on LinkedIn

Networking is one of your most essential tasks as a staffing professional—and the ASA group on LinkedIn can help you connect with industry peers. Group members can participate in online discussions, post job openings, respond to poll questions, and establish connections with other ASA members.

In addition, you can join one or more sector-specific subgroups for health care; industrial; professional; search and placement; and technical, IT, and scientific staffing. Learn more about ASA membership sections at

The LinkedIn group enables you to network with other members of the staffing community when it’s convenient for you. Join today and get connected.

Pre-Employment Background Checks for Temporary Employees

Lexology (03/14/12) Ed Magarian; Jillian Kornblatt

Experts say businesses that contract with staffing firms to engage workers with access to consumer identity information should ensure the staffing firm conducts background checks for employees placed at their company, and the background checks should be similar to those performed on their permanent employees. The contract should state the method and conditions under which the staffing firm discloses negative information uncovered by the background check prior to placing a temporary worker and the type of approval granted by the employer before placement occurs.

Although employers may avoid liability for certain acts committed by temporary workers employed by a staffing firm, they may still be found liable if they were negligent in selecting the staffing firm that conducted the background check or fail to exercise appropriate oversight or training of the temporary worker. Employers also must comply with laws governing the use of information gleaned from pre-employment background checks.

From the Office of Special Counsel: Anatomy of an OSC Investigation

Lexology (03/15/12) Dawn Lurie

Investigations by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices should be taken seriously, and companies contacted by the OSC should immediately hire experienced immigration attorneys and assess potential liability at additional sites, if applicable. The initial investigation will be completed within 120 days, by which time the OSC determines whether to dismiss the charge or investigate for an additional 90 days.

Internal reviews of employment verification practices should be central to companies’ compliance strategies. Companies must make sure they follow the Immigration and Nationality Act’s antidiscrimination provisions and treat all workers the same by not arbitrarily requiring workers to provide new or updated Form I-9 information or document copies.

Regulating Employee Personal Conduct Through Employment Policies

Lexology (03/16/12) Cori Stirling

Many employers have created nonfraternization and social media policies to regulate various aspects of employees’ personal conduct. However, depending on the breadth of the written policies, these policies may have the unintended consequence of prohibiting conduct other than romantic relationships or derogatory comments, which may cause unwanted legal ramifications for the employer under the National Labor Relations Act. Also, implementation of nonfraternization policies and social media policies may result in unhappy employees, which in turn could lead to discrimination lawsuits and claims.

To avoid such potential legal difficulties, employers seeking to adopt these policies must ensure their policies are carefully crafted. Section 7 of the NLRA gives employees the right to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. A work policy that may chill employees in the exercise of these rights could violate the NLRA, so having narrowly tailored nonfraternization and social media policies is critical. Even if the employer has perfectly crafted nonfraternization and social media policies, the policies may still result in liability under discrimination law if not enforced properly. The key to overcoming allegations of discrimination is to enforce the policy consistently, so that no employee can successfully allege being singled out for enforcement based upon a protected status.