Jobless Claims Dip
Wall Street Journal (06/07/12) Josh Mitchell; Eric Morath
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 12,000 last week to 377,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 389,000 from 383,000. New claims were below the 380,000 figure forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires. The average of new claims over the past four weeks, meanwhile, edged up by 1,750 to 377,750, the highest level in a month.
Fed’s Latest Beige Book Paints a More Upbeat Picture of Economy
Los Angeles Times (06/07/12) Don Lee
The Federal Reserve’s latest beige book released on June 6 paints a surprisingly upbeat picture of a U.S. economy continuing to improve at a moderate pace. Manufacturing in most areas is seen as expanding nicely, travel and tourism are strengthening, and the housing market is finally showing more signs of recovery. “Hiring was steady or showed a modest increase” since the previous beige book issued eight weeks ago, according to the summary of the report.
Recent economic data indicating slowing job creation, softer car sales, and weakening factory orders point to a U.S. economy that has lost considerable momentum this spring. But Wednesday’s beige book suggests that the economy may not be as bad as the recent string of economic data indicate.
On employment, the beige book showed reports of hiring, most notably in manufacturing, construction, information technology, and professional services. The only significant hint of a weakening job market in the survey came from the Fed’s Chicago district, where hiring was said to be “limited,” due in part to difficulties finding qualified workers.
Bill Pushes for Increase in Wages
New York Times (06/06/12) Rebecca Berg
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) has proposed a bill that would immediately hike the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10. He believes increasing the minimum wage could encourage spending and ultimately give the economy a boost. Some observers do not think the bill will be put up for a vote given the upcoming election, but Jackson hopes to jump-start a discussion of the issue.
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The new ASA Certification Prep & Practice Tool Kit includes four modules with corresponding recordings and instructional slides that cover the main areas of the certification exams. Learn more about the new tool kit and listen to sample recordings at americanstaffing.net, where you can also purchase this interactive resource for individual or group study.
New Guidance on Hiring and Managing Disabled Veterans
Mondaq (06/01/12) Anne R. Yuengert
Two new publications from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Understanding Your Employment Rights Under the Americans With Disabilities Act: A Guide for Veterans” and “Veterans and the Americans With Disabilities Act: A Guide for Employers,” aim to assist both employers and veterans with the hiring process as the U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. The guidance states that employers can question candidates about their status as disabled veterans only as part of the affirmative action program, though candidates are not required to provide the information, and they can give preference to disabled veterans over nonveteran and nondisabled applicants.
Employers cannot ask about obvious disabilities, such as when, where, or how the injury occurred, but they can ask candidates whether a reasonable accommodation will be needed. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act, employers must “go further than the ADA by making reasonable efforts to assist a veteran who is returning to employment to become qualified for a job whether or not the veteran has a service-connected disability.”
Do You Have to Pay Unauthorized Overtime?
Reuters (06/06/12) Stephanie Rabiner
Many employers contend with employees who work longer than their scheduled work hours even when they were not asked to, and experts say employers are responsible for paying unauthorized overtime if they are aware that employees worked off-the-clock. However, employers also have the ability to discipline these employees, given that no federal or state law prevents the creation and enforcement of overtime policies. These policies should state when overtime is allowed, that it must be approved, and the disciplinary measures for violations, such as write-ups, suspension, or termination.
U.S. Job Creation Largely Steady in May
Gallup Economy (06/06/12) Lymari Morales
Gallup’s U.S. Job Creation Index was at +19 in May, compared with +20 in April and +18 in March, providing a largely steady assessment of the U.S. job creation picture over the period in which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found job creation weakening. The U.S. Job Creation Index score of +19 for May reflects 35% of workers nationwide saying their employers are hiring workers and expanding the size of their work force, and 16% saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of their work force. Gallup’s job creation measure does not reveal a significant change in May versus April and March. This means workers themselves did not perceive much change in hiring at their workplaces, even as the government found far fewer actual jobs being created.
Gallup also finds U.S. economic confidence and consumer spending holding at higher rates over the past three months. Taken together, the Gallup findings suggest Americans’ overall economic attitudes and behaviors remained slightly improved in March, April, and May, but did not get much better. Next month’s reports will reveal whether the May BLS jobs report has any negative impact.
Finance Chiefs See Pickup in U.S. Hiring While Optimism Cools
Bloomberg (06/06/12) Michelle Jamrisko
Even as confidence in the U.S. economy wanes, companies in the U.S. intend to increase hiring, according to a quarterly survey of chief financial officers by Duke University and CFO Magazine. The index of executives’ confidence declined from 59 in the first quarter to 56 in the second quarter. However, the executives said they plan to boost hiring by 2.5% over the next year, up from 2.1% in the previous survey. “CFOs indicate a level of hiring that would reduce the national unemployment rate to near 7% within a year, if all else remains constant,” says Kate O’Sullivan, CFO Magazine’s editorial director. “More than one out of four U.S. CFOs say their employees are maxed out, so the planned increase in payrolls is long overdue.”
IT Hiring Forecast Optimistic…for Now
Network World (06/06/12) Ann Bednarz
A Dice.com poll of 800 information technology-focused hiring managers and recruiters found 73% plan to increase hiring in the second half of the year compared with the first six months of 2012, an increase from six months ago when 65% said they planned to increase hiring. Approximately one-quarter (24%) said the time it takes to fill positions has shortened compared with last year, while 45% reported extended hiring times, due in part to an inability to find qualified professionals.
IT professionals of all experience levels are in demand, though hiring managers and recruiters reported different search priorities. Companies recruiting for their own needs are most likely to focus on technical professionals with two to five years in the work force, slightly edging out those with six to 10 years of experience. Staffing companies and recruiters, meanwhile, tend to be searching for more experienced professionals with six to 10 years of tenure.