Industrial Production in U.S. Climbs More Than Forecast
Bloomberg (05/16/12) Lorraine Woellert
The output of the nation’s factories, mines, and utilities surged 1.1% in April, the biggest gain since December 2010, the U.S. Federal Reserve reported today. Economists forecasted a 0.6% gain, according to the Bloomberg News survey median. March production was revised up to a 0.6% decrease from the initial estimate of unchanged, while February production was revised to a 0.4% gain from a flat reading. Factory activity alone rose 0.6% in April after a 0.5% drop in the previous month. Capacity utilization—a gauge of slack in the economy—rose to 79.2% in April from 78.4% in March. This is the highest capacity reading of this business cycle.
Good U.S. Jobs News Can Be Found in Big Business
Bloomberg (05/15/12) Peter Orszag
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, companies with 5,000 or more employees have been hiring U.S. workers at a fairly quick pace, expanding their work forces by an average of 0.4 percentage point a month from January 2011 to February 2012. The data indicate that the weakness in the nation’s labor market reflects slow hiring growth among most smaller companies, which during the same period expanded their work forces by just 0.1 percentage point a month. Meanwhile, companies with nine or fewer workers saw their net employment decline.
As Temporary Employment Grows, Pitfalls Seen in Indianapolis
Los Angeles Times (05/15/12) Alana Semuels
Employment in temporary services rose 8.7% between April 2011 and April 2012, compared with only a 3.5% increase for the broader sector of professional and business services during the same period. In some industries such as warehousing and hospitality, the number of contract employees is growing significantly.
Some companies that rely on temporary workers are facing a backlash from workers. Temporary workers in Indianapolis have filed a lawsuit against 10 hotels and Hospitality Staffing Solutions, alleging the hotels have agreements in place that prevent the workers from leaving the staffing company to work elsewhere. The lawsuit also alleges that the staffing company did not pay them for the full hours they worked for Hyatt Regency Indianapolis.
Online Recruiter Monster Updates Its Résumé
Wall Street Journal (05/15/12) Lauren Weber
Monster Worldwide Inc. has seen its stock tumble from close to $50 in 2006 to less than $7 in early 2012, but chief executive Sal Iannuzzi says the company has been re-energized by the inclusion of advanced search products for recruiters and job boards for government agencies, and he says he is considering such “strategic alternatives” as a sale of all or parts of the company. Iannuzzi, who will not indicate whether there is a potential buyer, says, “The company is stronger today than it’s been at any point in the last seven or eight years. But the stock price just was not indicating that, and I owe it as part of my fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder value any way that I can.”
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Free ASAPro Webinar Tuesday—New EEOC Enforcement Guidance
When can employers ask about applicants’ criminal history? How should employers treat applicants’ arrest and pending records? Do employers have to allow applicants an opportunity to provide additional information? Find out Tuesday, May 22, during the ASAPro Webinar “New EEOC Enforcement Guidance—Employers’ Use of Arrest and Conviction Records” sponsored by People 2.0.
Attorneys Gerald L. Maatman and Pamela Q. Devata of Seyfarth Shaw LLP will provide a comprehensive analysis of new guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
All ASAPro Webinars are free for ASA members. Register online at americanstaffing.net.
Employers Are Wise to Avoid English-Only Policies in Most Circumstances
Employers may believe that policies requiring employees to speak only English at work foster communication among employees and put a stop to rude or inconsiderate behavior toward employees who speak only English, but experts say such policies could expose them to liability. In California, for instance, employers can institute English-only policies only if justified by a business necessity, and employers must spell out when language restrictions must be observed as well as the consequences for violations. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also requires that such policies be justified by a business necessity.
Accommodating New and Expectant Mothers: Why Maternity Policies Matter
HR.BLR.com (05/14/12) Tiffany S. Fordyce
To prevent potential problems in the workplace, companies need to implement a comprehensive written maternity policy for expectant and new mothers. The policy should cover the length of maternity leave available; who the employee should contact in case of any pregnancy- and leave-related issues; how much advance notice is required to begin maternity leave and how the notice should be documented; how the Family and Medical Leave Act interacts with maternity leave; and what accommodations the company will offer to new mothers. The policy should treat employees consistently and treat pregnancy-related issues like other medical issues. Companies should also keep in mind that pregnancy-related disabilities can require compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Demand for Temporary Doctors Rises Amid Worsening Physician Shortage
Forbes (05/15/12) Bruce Japsen
The doctor shortage is growing worse, and that shortage means doctors looking for temporary assignments are in demand. As more Americans gain health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act, the need for doctors is expected to grow.
AMN Healthcare subsidiary Staff Care says because hospitals and medical groups can’t find enough permanent doctors, they are increasingly turning to locum tenens doctors. “In a down economy, people don’t see the doctor unless they have to, either to avoid deductibles or because they are not insured—and there still are not enough physicians to go around,” notes Staff Care president Sean Ebner. The company says its number of “temporary days filled” for its clients rose to 183,252 last year from 181,834 in 2010 even at a time when hospitals and health facilities are seeing cuts in government health insurance programs that pay them.
Employers in Manufacturing, Hospitality, and Retail Drive Increase in Summer Hiring
The pace of job creation may pick up over the summer months, fueled by an expected increase in seasonal hiring. Three in 10 (29%) U.S. employers plan to hire workers for the summer, up from 21% in 2011 and an average of 22% over the past four years, according to ASA corporate partner CareerBuilder’s annual Summer Job Forecast. Stronger-than-expected growth in the manufacturing sector, as well as increased consumer confidence heading into vacation season, are likely behind the busier summer hiring season. Approximately 45% of employers in the manufacturing industry plan to add summer workers, followed by hospitality (44%), retail (34%), and finance (31%).
“Confidence is up among the employers we most closely associate with summer hiring. This is good news for job seekers, as seasonal work can often lead to full-time opportunities. A majority of employers told us they consider a summer position an extended job interview,” says Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. “The forecast is also a strong indicator that the job market will continue to strengthen as we come closer to the second half of 2012.”
Randstad Engineering Employment Report: Worker Confidence Reaches Highest Level in Four Years
The Randstad Engineering Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. engineering workers, was 64.9 in the first quarter of 2012—the highest level of confidence recorded since the third quarter of 2007, when the index stood at 66.2. The first-quarter results show high levels of optimism when it comes to engineers feeling confident in their own personal employment situation.
“Given the strength of the engineering industry, it was not surprising that the Randstad Engineering Employee Confidence Index was the highest among all other professions tracked,” says Richard Zambacca, president of Randstad Engineering. “According to the Department of Labor, there were more than 1.6 million jobs in engineering at the end of Q1 2012 and this is expected to grow at 11% over the next 10 years. Based on this projected growth, it is likely that our Index will continue to report high levels of confidence, on both a macroeconomic and personal level.”