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U.S. Jobless Claims Increase to 380,000, Higher Than Forecast

Bloomberg (04/12/12) Timothy R. Homan; Alex Kowalski

More people than expected filed claims for jobless benefits last week, an indication job growth is slowing. Jobless claims rose 13,000 to 380,000, the highest since Jan. 28, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Claims from a week earlier were revised upward to 367,000 from 357,000.

Adecco Group North America said demand for employees is rising in some fields. “We do continue to see increases in the health care and manufacturing areas,” Janette Marx, an Adecco senior vice president, said in an interview last week. “Those areas definitely have been showing some nice increases.”

Fed Survey Shows U.S. Growth, Hiring Improves

Associated Press (04/11/12) Christopher S. Rugaber

The decrease in hiring in March as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor could be temporary, according to a survey of business conditions by the U.S. Federal Reserve showing that hiring either rose or held steady across the country from mid-February through April 2. The “beige book” report indicates that the manufacturing, shipping, information technology, and professional business services sectors saw job gains. John Canally, an economist at LPL Financial, says, “I didn’t see any companies say that they’re scaling back sharply on hiring because demand is slowing.” However, in three districts, employers said they would delay expanding their work forces until growth strengthens. Rising gas prices remain a concern for employers in most areas.

TrueBlue Tops Among All Companies on Forbes’ 2012 ‘America’s Most Trustworthy Companies’ List

TrueBlue News Release (04/11/12)

TrueBlue Inc. is at the top of the top-ranked companies in the nation for transparency, conservative accounting practices, and solid corporate governance, according to this year’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies list compiled for Forbes magazine by GMIRATINGS. TrueBlue was selected based on an independent review of 8,000 companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. TrueBlue’s average score over the past four quarters of 99 out of 100 led all companies on the list.

Post Falls Staffing Firm Command Center Restates Earnings for 2010, Part of 2011

Spokane Spokesman-Review (Washington) (04/11/12)

Command Center Inc., a Post Falls, WA-based staffing firm, plans to restate its financial statements for 2010 and 2011 due to an incorrect overstatement of prepaid insurance policy deposits, according to a Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Glenn Welstad, Command Center chairman and chief executive, says, “The restatement does not reflect any trends in Command’s business or any current or prospective impact on the company’s results of operations; nor does it impact compliance with our debt covenants.” The restatement is expected to boost earnings per share for the third quarter of 2011 by $0.01, and the accumulated deficit for the period ended Dec. 31, 2010, will rise by $716,000.

ASAPro Webinar Today—Never Negotiate Direct Hire Fees Again

This afternoon at 3 p.m. Eastern time, catch the ASAPro Webinar “How to Never Negotiate Direct Hire Fees Again.” Neil Lebovits of the Dynamic Sale will share a technique that will help you stop negotiating direct hire fees so you can maximize your profits.

ASAPro Webinars are free for ASA members ($295 for nonmembers) and qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Webinars take place 3–4 p.m. Eastern time. Register online at americanstaffing.net.

Tomorrow Is the Last Day to Register Online for the 2012 ASA Staffing Law Conference

The ASA Staffing Law Conference April 17–18 in Washington, DC, is the only program devoted to legal and regulatory issues facing staffing firms—and tomorrow is the last day to register online. After April 12, you can register on-site at the Westin Washington, DC, City Center Hotel.

The conference features Charlie Cook, the pre-eminent authority on U.S. elections and political trends; senior-level representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and U.S. Department of Justice; a special session to discuss the effects of federal health care reform; and more.

You can’t afford to miss this opportunity to learn how to protect yourself and your business. To register, visit americanstaffing.net.

Employers Must Update Their Social Media Policies

White & Case (04/05/2012)

The National Labor Relations Act does not permit many of the provisions typically contained in social media policies, according to the second report on social media cases issued by the acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board earlier this year. “Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees,” the NLRB says. Union and nonunion employees who are not “supervisors” are permitted to act collectively for their mutual aid and protection, including addressing their terms and conditions of employment, and these are the discussions that are increasingly taking place on social media.

The report notes that a policy with a “savings clause,” which provides that it is not intended to interfere with employees’ NLRA rights, may still be overbroad. However, the report adds that the following is a type of policy that may be valid under the NLRA: “Prohibiting use of social media to post or display comments about co-workers or supervisors or the employer that are vulgar, obscene, threatening, intimidating, harassing, or a violation of the employer’s policies against unlawful discrimination or harassment.”

10 Unemployment Compensation Factors That Affect Payouts

Business Management Daily (04/03/12)

How much a company pays for unemployment insurance is partially based on how many former employees successfully file claims against it. Therefore, companies must understand the unemployment laws in each state in which they operate. They should also be aware that employees can quit and still collect unemployment. If an employee resigns because the employer changed working hours or locations, state officials may deem the termination an “employer-caused discharge” and approve benefits. Underperforming workers fired for chronic tardiness or missing deadlines could successfully argue that they did their best and did not try to let down the firm. Unless the employer can prove the worker was intentionally doing a bad job, the worker will likely be eligible for benefits. Ideally, termination should be based on something other than “poor performance,” such as “deliberate and willful misconduct.” Employers need to document that they tried to retain the worker by offering counseling and issuing warnings.

The 10 Employment Laws Every Manager Should Know

Business Management Daily (04/04/12)

Federal class-action lawsuits brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act outnumber all other types of private class-action suits in employment-related cases. The FLSA sets the federal minimum wage and requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for hourly employees who work more than 40 hours in a week.

Companies need to be familiar with additional federal legislation, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace and from discriminating in hiring, firing, or pay based on a person’s race, religion, gender, or national origin. The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits job discrimination against qualified people with disabilities. Therefore, companies should never immediately reject disabled applicants but instead should work with human resource personnel to help create reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.

The Family and Medical Leave Act says employees with at least a year of service can take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid, job-protected time off for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for themselves or a sick child, spouse, or parent who has a “serious” health condition. The FMLA applies to organizations with 50 or more employees. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act says employers cannot discriminate against applicants or employees older than 40 because of their age. This means that companies should never take a person’s age or proximity to retirement into account when making decisions on hiring, firing, pay, benefits, or promotions.

Kentucky Governor Signs Unemployment Insurance Bill

Associated Press (04/11/12) Randy Patrick

A bill signed into law by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear on April 11 aims to save the state’s employers millions of dollars in higher federal unemployment insurance taxes by allowing the state to issue revenue bonds to make interest payments on $963 million in federal loans used to operate the state’s unemployment insurance program during the recession. A $21-per-employee surcharge will be imposed on employers starting in 2014 to cover the first three years of interest payments at $79 million, as well as to cover future interest on the debt. A $600 million federal tax credit for employers would have been lost if the state could not make the interest payments on the Sept. 30 due date, and the federal unemployment insurance tax paid by employers would have surged to $420 per employee from $63.

Hiring Demand for Recruiters at Highest Levels in Four Years

Wanted Analytics (04/11/12) Abby Lombardi

Wanted Analytics says job ads for recruiters reached a four-year high of 6,900 in March, up 34% from March 2011. Corporate employers accounted for 56% of the ads, while staffing firms and third-party recruitment agencies made up 44%. New York, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, and Philadelphia had the most job ads for recruiters, with Philadelphia posting a more than 78% increase from March 2011.

Mid-Incomers Suffer in Polarized U.S. Job Market: Economy

Bloomberg (04/11/12) Alex Kowalski

U.S. workers in the top and lower income brackets are benefiting more from the economic recovery than are those in the middle, according to economists at Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase. The highest-paying jobs, which employ approximately 15% of all workers, have accounted for 20% of the job gains since the recovery began, while lower-paying jobs have accounted for 46% of job gains in the same period. Technology has allowed companies to replace middle-income “routine labor” jobs, such as bank tellers.

“Companies have been driving, and continue to drive, for increased productivity, to do more with less, and the tool to do that is technology improvement,” says Jonas Prising, president of Americas for Manpower Inc. “What are getting squeezed are the well-paying jobs with lower-skill levels that used to give a middle-class income.”

Technisource and Randstad Technologies Employment Report: IT Worker Confidence Reaches Highest Level on Record

Randstad News Release (04/11/12)

The IT Employee Confidence Index reached 58.8 in the first quarter of 2012—its highest level seen since the fourth quarter of 2005. This surge in confidence is also 6.8 points higher than what was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a recent online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Technisource and Randstad Technologies. The number of technology workers indicating that the economy is getting stronger nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2012—leading to the highest confidence ratings in the history of the survey. In addition, 20% more IT workers reported in the first quarter that they were confident in their ability to find a new job, and 41% indicated a likelihood to proactively seek new employment within the next year.