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Manufacturers See Slower Gains

Wall Street Journal (04/02/13) Brenda Cronin

Led by the automobile and housing sectors, U.S. manufacturers expanded for the fourth month in a row in March, but at a slower pace than in February, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Overall manufacturing activity fell from 54.2 in February to 51.3 in March. March’s slower pace was attributed to a pullback in new orders and production. Fallout from federal spending cuts was not reflected in the report, but executives did voice “some uncertainty, especially as it relates to government spending and policies,” says Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Visa Demand Jumps

Wall Street Journal (04/02/13) Miriam Jordan

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications from U.S. employers on April 1 for H-1B visas for jobs starting in October or later, and experts anticipate that for the first time since 2008, the yearly allotment of applications will be reached in a matter of days, prompting the use of a lottery to distribute the visas. Up to 65,000 foreigners with at least a bachelor’s degree and 20,000 foreign nationals with advanced degrees from U.S. universities can be sponsored by U.S. employers every year, and these quotas likely will be reached by April 5.

Companies like Pocket Gems are concerned about the lottery, with chief executive Ben Liu noting, “Having the talent can be the difference between success and failure.” Legislation introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would ensure H-1B visas are used to fill gaps in highly specialized jobs and not replace qualified U.S. workers, but companies believe the market should dictate how many visas are issued given that the U.S. is not producing the number of professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics needed for innovation and growth.

Health Care Reform, Legislative Alerts, and Industry Updates Coming to a Chapter Near You

This spring, ASA is on the road. Hear from chairman Bob Livonius of AMN Strategic Workforce Solutions, or from ASA president and chief executive officer Richard Wahlquist, senior counsel Ed Lenz, or government affairs counsel Toby Malara, at one of their upcoming presentations at the meetings of ASA-affiliated chapters.

The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and will have a major effect on staffing firms. Support your local chapter as you learn the challenges the industry is facing from ASA experts.

Livonius will speak in North Carolina. Wahlquist will speak in Illinois. Lenz will speak in Alabama, California, Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas, and Wisconsin. Malara will speak in Kansas, Missouri, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Visit for details.