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Beige Book: Economy Growing ‘Gradually’

Associated Press (08/29/12)

The U.S. economy expanded gradually in July and early August, as the jobs market only grew slightly, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced in its latest “beige book” report. The economy expanded at a modest-to-moderate pace in more than half of the central bank’s 12 districts, but some saw slower or mixed growth. Most districts indicated that employment was “holding steady or growing only slightly,” according to the report, with some companies preparing for upcoming layoffs.

The Fed report will inform discussions when central bank policymakers next meet Sept. 12-13. Financial markets are hoping the central bank will provide more support to boost a sub-par economic recovery. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke could signal future moves in an Aug. 31 speech.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Unchanged Last Week at One-Month High

Bloomberg (08/30/12) Lorraine Woellert

Applications for U.S. jobless benefits were flat last week at a seasonally adjusted 374,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 370,000. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 374,000 from an original reading of 372,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, rose by 1,500 to 370,250.

Consumer Spending in U.S. Climbs for First Time in Three Months

Bloomberg Business Week (08/30/12) Alex Kowalski

Consumer spending in the U.S. rose in July at the fastest pace in five months, with spending increasing 0.4% last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The uptick was the first increase in consumer spending in three months. The median estimate of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.5% gain in spending. Personal income, meanwhile, rose 0.3% for the third straight month.

Countdown to Savings—Register for Staffing World® 2012

There are just nine days till the advance registration deadline for Staffing World, the ASA annual convention and expo. Save up to $150 per person when you register by Sept. 7 at

Join ASA and save even more—ASA members enjoy a significant discount on Staffing World 2012 registration fees.

ASAPro Webinar on Health Care Questions Postponed

The ASAPro Webinar “Follow-Up on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling—Next Steps for Staffing Firms,” scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6, has been postponed. The primary focus of the Webinar was going to be the definition of full-time employee, official guidance on which had been expected by the end of this month. The guidance is in the final stages of review by the Obama administration, but no firm release date has been announced.

Because this definition is key to the issue of which employees staffing firms must offer health insurance to, and pay penalties on, ASA decided to wait until the guidance is issued and fully analyzed. Firms that registered for the Webinar will be automatically registered when the new date has been determined.