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Jobless Claims in U.S. Little Changed as Market Stable

Bloomberg (08/16/12) Michelle Jamrisko; Shobhana Chandra

Jobless claims climbed by 2,000 to 366,000 in the week ended Aug. 11, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today, bringing the average over the past month to the lowest level since late March, a sign the labor market has stabilized after employment picked up in July. The median forecast of 45 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for an increase to 365,000. The four-week moving average dropped to 363,750, the fewest since the week ended March 31.

U.S. Hiring Picked Up in July; So Did Unemployment

Associated Press (08/15/12) Christopher Rugaber

The U.S. economy appears more resilient, with recent reports indicating factories produced more goods in July and homebuilders grew more confident in the housing recovery. Meanwhile, consumer prices stayed flat last month, potentially leading to increased consumer spending in the second half of the year.

While the gains are encouraging, economists are approaching the mostly positive data with some caution. The economy remains weak after a sluggish spring. A severe drought in the Midwest could send food prices surging later this year, and gas prices have also increased recently after falling from a peak near $4 a gallon in April. “It was generally expected that July would be a decent month…but uncertainty lies ahead,” says Jennifer Lee, an economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Protingent Inc. Forms Employee Stock Ownership Plan

Protingent Inc. News Release (08/14/12)

Protingent Inc., a Washington-based technology staffing firm, has announced the formation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan for its employees. Under the new plan, owners Donn Harvey and Tim Bruce will both continue to serve in their management roles for the foreseeable future.

“The ESOP is the ultimate way to reward employees for their contributions to the company’s success,” says Harvey. “From now on, technology businesses and engineering professionals will be working directly with an owner to find the area’s top talent and available positions.”

Is Your Company Prepared for What’s Coming Next?

Succeeding in the staffing business means always being one step ahead of the next industry trend, regulatory shift, or legislative change. Recently, the ASA legal team conducted a free Webinar on potential lawsuits resulting from government guidance on the use of criminal background checks, mandates related to the health care reform law that are set to take effect in 2014, possible business changes resulting from the November elections, and other pressing issues that can affect your bottom line.

Did you miss this important Webinar? Contact Kim Potter at 703-253-2051 to obtain a free recording, or register for the next complimentary Webinar on legislative and regulatory issues, which takes place Sept. 11, 3-4 p.m. Eastern time.