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Fed Should Give Specific Stimulus Targets, Some Officials Say

Washington Post (09/21/12) Zachary A. Goldfarb

Some U.S. Federal Reserve officials are making the case that the Fed should state that it wants to cut unemployment to a certain level prior to withdrawing the stimulus it has infused into the economy over the past few years. Yesterday, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, suggested that the Fed publicly state it will continue to stimulate the economy until the unemployment rate declines to 5.5% or inflation surpasses 2.25%. Making such a public statement would help ease concerns consumers and companies may have about just when the central bank will withdraw its stimulus measures. Without that reassurance consumers and companies may hold back their borrowing and spending.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. Declines Slightly

Conference Board News Release (09/20/12)

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for the U.S. declined 0.1% in August to 95.7, following a 0.5% increase in July, and a 0.5% decline in June. Ataman Ozyildirim, economist at the Conference Board, says: “The U.S. LEI has declined in three of the last six months. While its six-month growth rate has slowed substantially, it still remains in growth territory due to positive contributions from the financial components including stock prices, yield spread, and the Leading Credit Index. Over the last several months, the U.S. LEI seems to be fluctuating around a flat trend, while strengths and weaknesses among its components remain balanced.”

Philadelphia Area Manufacturing Contracts for Fifth Month

Bloomberg (09/20/12) Shobhana Chandra

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported on Sept. 20 that manufacturing in the Philadelphia region shrank for a fifth straight month in September, reinforcing signs the industry will offer less support to the U.S. economy. The bank’s general economic index improved to -1.9, higher than forecast, from -7.1 in August. Readings less than zero signal contraction in the area covering eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware. The median forecast of 62 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was -4.5.

The figures, which showed a slump in sales and cutbacks in employment, add to concerns that a pillar of the expansion is faltering. Cooling exports due to the European debt crisis, combined with slower business investment and restrained household spending in the world’s largest economy, mean manufacturing may stay depressed. “The sector continues to struggle,” says Millan Mulraine, senior U.S. strategist for TD Securities. “There’s uncertainty both domestically and globally. We’re likely to see manufacturing moving sideways.”

$175 Million in Funding Announced for Manufacturing Education Programs

Manufacturing Institute News Release (09/20/2012)

The U.S. Department of Labor announced Wednesday over $175 million in funding for community colleges to grow and enhance their manufacturing education and training programs. This funding will allow community and technical colleges to align their programs with the standards of industry-based credentials, increasing the number of individuals who have certifications that make them eligible for in-demand manufacturing jobs.

“With the skills gap in manufacturing at an all-time high, and 600,000 jobs going unfilled as a result, these grants will enable students to learn the skills they need to access and advance in manufacturing jobs,” says Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute. “It will also support schools in building quality, relevant manufacturing programs that offer individuals industry-based certifications.”

Get Ready for Staffing World—ASAPro Webinar Next Week

If you’re planning to attend Staffing World 2012, the ASA annual convention and expo—and you should—you can’t miss the ASAPro Webinar “Make the Most of Your Staffing World Experience.” Get information on logistics, educational programming, networking opportunities, and more. The Webinar takes place Thursday, Sept. 27, 1–2 p.m. Eastern time and Wednesday, Oct. 3, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time.

Get the latest about convention content, including the fact that ASA has expanded the Staffing World session on health care reform—at one hour and 45 minutes, the Immersion Program “Current Developments in Health Care Reform” will be long enough for in-depth discussion and a question-and-answer session.

This Webinar is free for ASA members and nonmembers. Register online at

ASAPro Webinar Next Week—Overcome the Fear of ‘No’ to Get More Business

The ASAPro Webinar “Get More Business—Overcome the Fear of ‘No’” has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time. Registrations for the Webinar’s original date have been transferred to the Sept. 25 date.

Best-selling authors Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton will share their “Go for No” philosophy, offer tips on how to increase business and reduce stress, and discuss the benefits of persistence.

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