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Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Increase From Two-Month Low

Bloomberg (10/05/12) Alex Kowalski

The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 367,000 in the week ended Sept. 29, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Economists forecasted 370,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The prior week’s reading was the lowest in two months. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 363,000 from an original reading of 359,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, was unchanged at 375,000.

Planned Layoffs up Slightly in September: Challenger

Reuters (10/04/12)

The number of planned layoffs at U.S. companies climbed 4.9% in September after reaching a 20-month low in August, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Still, the new data represent a 15-year low in planned job cuts for the month of September, which were 71% lower year-over-year.

“Layoffs are definitely at pre-recession levels. Unfortunately, hiring has not returned to those levels. A combination of factors, including the upcoming election, ongoing instability in Europe, growing signs of weakness in Asia, and a host of other issues, are keeping companies from making any major expansion or hiring moves,” says John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Reality Check: September U.S. Permanent Hiring Up Moderately—Recruiters

MNI News (Deutsche Boerse) (10/03/12) Claudia Hirsch

U.S. permanent hiring increased in September from August, but employers remained selective when adding to payrolls, according to recruiters around the country. Personnel specialists say firms hired permanent employees at a cautious pace, but brought in fewer temporary workers in the month. Becca Dernberger, vice president and general manager of ManpowerGroup’s Northeast U.S. division, says her temporary-hiring commerce rose by less than anticipated in September from August, but appetites for permanent workers firmed alongside clients’ own growth. “The optimism is still there, but we’re just seeing a little wait-and-see. We’re not seeing any layoffs or closures. We’re not seeing any doom and gloom by any means,” says Dernberger.

Eugene Lupario, chief executive of Silicon Valley Staffing Group, reports permanent placements continued in September, but temporary and contract staffing slowed as projects concluded on schedule. Lupario’s permanent placements are centered in finance and information technology. He has more technical job orders than ever, and more than he can fill in a competitive environment.

Shane Grady, director of training and development at Drake & Co. of Madison, WI, says temporary-to-permanent conversions are happening a little faster this year than last because of the paucity of qualified candidates. In particular demand are administrative, human resources, and accounting personnel for permanent positions in health care, technology, and, recently, in property management.

September ISM Services Index Rises to 55.1 From 53.7

MarketWatch (10/03/12) Jeffrey Bartash

The Institute for Supply Management on Oct. 3 reported its services index increased to 55.1 in September from 53.7 in August. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected the index to hold steady at 53.7. The new-orders index, a sign of future demand, rose 4.0 points to 57.7, the highest reading since March. The inventories gauge fell to 48.5 from 52.5, while the prices index climbed to 68.1 from 64.3.

Staffing World 2012 Is Next Week

The ASA annual convention and expo starts Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Las Vegas. You can’t afford to miss it, especially now that ASA has expanded the Staffing World session on health care reform—the one hour and 45 minute Immersion Program “Current Developments in Health Care Reform” will be long enough for in-depth discussion and a question-and-answer session.

And that’s just one of nearly 40 educational workshops scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 10, and Thursday, Oct. 11. Plus there will be three inspiring keynotes, a sold-out expo hall, dozens of networking opportunities, and more. There’s still time to register online at