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Manufacturing Shrinks, First Time in Nearly Three Years

Reuters (07/02/12) Leah Schnurr

Manufacturing declined in June for the first time in nearly three years as new orders plummeted, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management. Businesses saw solid sales but said that they sensed a shift in overseas demand. That helped drive down new orders and could constrain economic growth over the next quarter. The organization’s index of national factory activity fell to 49.7 from 53.5 the month before, missing expectations of 52.0, according to a Reuters poll of economists, and below even the lowest forecast.

“Clearly this is the biggest sign yet that the U.S. is catching the slowdown that is well under way in Europe and China,” says Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics in London. Dales adds that the report is consistent with an economy that is growing at an annualized rate of a little below 1% after 1.9% growth in the first quarter, dismissing talk that the number signals a new U.S. recession is coming. A reading below 47 would be consistent with another recession, Dales says.

Randstad U.S. Employment Report: U.S. Workers’ Concerns About Economy Grow Mid-Year

MarketWatch (07/02/12)

Randstad’s latest Employee Confidence Index was 51.1 in June, recording its third consecutive decline in overall confidence levels among U.S. workers. Macroeconomic concerns contributed to the continued retreat in overall optimism, as workers’ apprehensions about the strength of the economy and job availability increased. While the overall June Index dipped by 2.1 points, it still remains three points higher than this time last year. Employee confidence in the ability to find a new job is up four points over the January number. In both May and June, 41% of respondents expressed confidence in being able to find new employment.

“These first six months of the year have certainly been different than what analysts and economists expected, with less job creation posted in the second quarter,” says Joanie Ruge, senior vice president and chief employment analyst for Randstad Holding. “While the economy has unquestionably added jobs at a very modest pace, it is certainly interesting to see that workers remain confident about the stability of their current jobs, employers, and ability to find employment.”

Free ASAPro Webinar Next Week on Health Care Reform Implications

Next Thursday, July 12, 2–3 p.m. Eastern time, you won’t want to miss the ASAPro Webinar “Supreme Court Health Care Ruling—Next Steps for Staffing Firms.” Attorneys Edward A. Lenz of ASA and Alden Bianchi of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo PC will discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act and explain the steps staffing firms should take to prepare for the law’s implementation.

ASAPro Webinars are free for ASA members and qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Register online at

Staffing Today Returns July 5

In observance of Independence Day, Staffing Today will be suspended Wednesday, July 4.