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March Staffing Up 2.4% From a Year Ago

Staffing employment in March is up 2.4% from the same month last year, according to the ASA Staffing Index.

The index value for the month of March is 91, indicating that staffing employment is slightly up from February (1.7% higher).

Affordable Care Act Could Boost the Use of Temporary Workers

Washington Post (03/26/13) Jay Hancock

The Affordable Care Act could prove to be a boon for staffing companies as employers outsource jobs to sidestep complex requirements for medical insurance. Starting in January, employers with at least 50 workers must offer affordable coverage or pay a penalty. To stay under this limit, some are considering outsourcing jobs to specialists. The health law is also prompting larger organizations to use staffing firms. By requiring employer coverage only for those who put in at least 30 hours a week, the act appears to create an incentive for companies to do less with permanent workers and more with part-timers.

Kelly Services chief executive Carl Camden downplays the idea that employers will shed health coverage liabilities by using staffing companies. He sees clients’ adjustment to the health act as “a modest opportunity” for his company. “There is a portion of the staffing industry who think there will be a large amount of companies trying to avoid obligations under the ACA and trying to shift over to staffing firms,” Camden says. “I don’t see that as happening.”

The bigger business may be helping companies navigate the law through consulting or by taking over temporary jobs they already have, Camden and other industry officials say. “We expect that clients that have those kinds of workers and who are daunted by the complexity of the Affordable Care Act will look to staffing firms to help them manage those kinds of workers,” says Edward A. Lenz, senior counsel for the American Staffing Association.

Payroll Growth Vaults to Higher Pace at U.S. Companies

Bloomberg (03/25/13) Rich Miller; Shobhana Chandra

Companies are stepping up hiring as the economy improves, and the result, say Maury Harris of UBS Securities LLC and Allen Sinai of Decision Economics Inc., is that payroll growth is vaulting to a faster pace of about 200,000 a month, after averaging 167,000 in the second half of last year. “The new normal is 200,000,” says Sinai, chief executive officer of the investment-research company. Payrolls may rise 216,000 this month after climbing 236,000 in February, the most since November, he estimates.

Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, has identified three leading indicators of the labor market: changes in jobless claims; temporary help; and the ability of small businesses to hire the employees they need. All three have improved, with applications for jobless benefits averaging 339,750 a week in the four weeks ended March 16, the lowest since February 2008. An increase of 16,000 jobs in February brought temporary-help-services payrolls to 2.58 million, the highest since August 2007 and up from 1.75 million in June 2009, when the U.S. emerged from the 18-month recession. The increased access to bank loans is particularly crucial for small businesses as many lack the ability to tap other sources of credit. That’s one reason why Harris sees payrolls continuing to expand, despite some employers’ concerns they’ll have to shell out more next year for health benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

More Work Needed to Stimulate U.S. Employment

Dow Jones Newswires (03/26/13) Asa Fitch

Richard Fisher, the president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, says U.S. leaders are failing to create the right monetary conditions to stimulate employment. Trillions of dollars are waiting to be activated and invested in the U.S. economy but are instead being parked at near zero interest rates, Fisher says. Despite that, he expects the U.S. economy to grow at a 3% clip by the end of 2013. “We have a very healthy scenario on the price side,” Fisher says. “Where we are underperforming is the other mandate that was given to us by the U.S. Congress, and that is to create the monetary conditions to achieve full employment.” Fisher has positioned himself as a staunch opponent of the U.S. Federal Reserve stimulus at a time when unemployment rates in the U.S. have been steadily declining.

Study: Health Law Has Imposed 111 Million Hours of Paperwork

The Hill (03/25/13) Sam Baker

In its first three years, the Affordable Care Act has imposed more than $30 billion in costs and 111 million hours of paperwork burdens, according to a new study from the American Action Forum. The forum asserts the law will hurt small businesses.

Coming Soon: ASA Marketplace—Your No. 1 Source for Suppliers to the Staffing Industry

In April, ASA will launch a powerful online resource that will change how staffing companies access industry supplier information and make important purchasing decisions. ASA Marketplace, a feature-rich, interactive, searchable website, will allow users to find supplier products and services in various categories by using a host of tools. Stay tuned for more information about the ASA Marketplace. There’s never been anything like it in the staffing business.

OFCCP Rescinds and Replaces ‘Rigid’ Standards for Investigating Pay Discrimination Cases in Favor of ‘Case-by-Case’ ApproachM

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