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ADP: U.S. Adds 215,000 Private-Sector Jobs in December

MarketWatch (01/03/13) Ruth Mantell

The U.S. added 215,000 private-sector jobs in December, ADP estimated today, led by a gain of 187,000 services jobs. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 149,000 private-sector jobs. The gain in November was revised to 148,000 from a prior estimate of 118,000.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s employment report is due Friday and covers private-sector and government jobs. Currently, analysts expect the government to report that nonfarm employment rose 153,000 in December, compared with a gain of 146,000 in November.

A Gigantic Sigh of Relief as Tax Uncertainty Ends

New York Times (01/03/13) Catherine Rampell

Despite the fact that the fiscal cliff agreement passed by Congress means higher taxes for almost all Americans, businesses are relieved that some of the uncertainty about what they will owe the government this year is gone. However, many economists estimate the end of the payroll tax holiday, the income tax increase on the wealthiest Americans, and other provisions will probably shave 0.7 to 1.5 percentage points off economic growth in 2013. They are forecasting growth in output this year of just over 2%, almost identical to that of 2012. “We’ve definitely averted the worst-case recession scenario,” says Jay Feldman, an economist at Credit Suisse. “We’re still looking at some fiscal drag, but it’s an amount the economy can absorb.”

The tax deal is also expected to result in hiring growth at last year’s pace, meaning the creation of 150,000 to 160,000 payroll jobs a month, according to Michael Gapen, senior U.S. economist and asset allocation strategist at Barclays. Without the tax increases, employers would probably be adding more than 200,000 jobs a month. Altogether, that means the economy will “create 600,000 fewer jobs in 2013—leaving the unemployment rate 0.4 percentage point higher—than it would have if the 2012 tax policies had been kept in place,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Most analysts’ estimates for the fiscal bargain’s effects on the economy do not take into account remaining negotiations over major spending cuts and an increase in the debt ceiling. Congress appears unlikely to resolve either of these issues until March.

Factory Output and Hiring Rose Slightly in December

Associated Press (01/03/13) Christopher S. Rugaber; Martin Crutsinger

The Institute for Supply Management reports an increase in its index of manufacturing activity from 49.5 in November to 50.7 in December, with readings above 50 indicating growth. Manufacturers may have increased hiring in December, with the trade group’s employment index rising from 48.4 in November to 52.7. However, there remain signs of weakness in the manufacturing sector, as the index of new orders held steady, production slowed, and manufacturers reduced stockpiles.

Ready for Health Care Reform? Get Help at the ASA Staffing Law Conference

The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and will have a major operational impact on staffing firms. What are the steps your firm should be taking to prepare? In an interactive panel discussion at the 2013 ASA Staffing Law Conference—May 7–8, in Washington, DC—hear from staffing firms and legal experts on the challenges they’re facing and their plans for implementing the law.

“Health Care Reform Panel Discussion—What Are Staffing Firms Doing to Prepare?” is just one of several can’t-miss sessions at the ASA Staffing Law Conference, the only program devoted to legal and regulatory issues facing staffing firms. Visit for the agenda, registration information, and more.