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Jobless Claims Data Calms Concerns on Labor Market

Reuters (04/18/13)

The number of people who applied last week for new unemployment benefits appeared to stabilize after a pair of large swings, reflecting a status-quo labor market in which companies are only gradually hiring new workers. Initial jobless claims rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000 in the week ended April 13, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Despite the increase last week, which was broadly in line with economists’ expectations, claims held near a level economists normally associate with average monthly job gains of more than 150,000. That helped to further ease concerns of a deterioration in labor market conditions after nonfarm payrolls in March posted their smallest increase in nine months.

Fed: U.S. Economy Continues to Show Improvement

American Staffing Association (04/18/13) Alexandra Karaer

The nation’s economy continued to improve, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest report on regional economies (known as the “beige book”). Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts showed that overall economic activity expanded from late February through March. Employment conditions remained mostly unchanged, with limited reports of hiring in the manufacturing, residential construction, information technology, and professional services sectors. Wage pressures were generally contained, with some districts experiencing skilled labor shortages in information technology, construction, and engineering.

Labor Pick Faces Backlash Over His Aggressive Record

Wall Street Journal (04/18/13) Devlin Barrett; Melanie Trottman

The nomination of Thomas Perez, head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, as secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor has sparked a partisan battle. Republicans are concerned that he will be an aggressive regulator based on his track record, while Democrats are praising him as a defender of civil and worker rights. The battle highlights partisan differences in regulating the workplace, as Democrats support beefed up protections for workers and Republicans worry that job growth will be hampered by increased regulation. If confirmed, Perez could play a role in implementing whatever immigration overhaul plan passes, possibly helping to craft rules to bring lower-skilled temporary workers to the U.S. or electronically verify immigration status. A confirmation hearing is scheduled for April 18 at the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Immigration Bill Gets Mixed Review

Wall Street Journal (04/18/13) Sara Murray; Miriam Jordan

As the “Gang of Eight” U.S. senators released full details of a bill to overhaul immigration, outside groups quickly launched efforts to tweak it in their favor—or to derail it entirely. The measure lays out plans to legalize some 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. and to spend at least $4.5 billion more on border security, but the authors say some provisions may be altered.

Many groups—high-tech organizations, farmworker groups, large companies, and immigration advocates—applauded the bill before offering their wish lists of ways to change it. Immigration advocates raised alarms about a provision that requires beefed-up border security and employment verification before steps to legalize undocumented immigrants can kick in. Groups hoping to limit immigration, meanwhile, vowed to intensify their efforts to defeat the bill.

On Your Side Alert: Fake Employment Agency Call

NBC12 (04/17/2013) Gray Hall

The Better Business Bureau in Richmond, VA, is warning consumers about a new alleged scam robocall that claims someone from an employment firm called W-N Positions is contacting them about an online job survey they supposedly completed. When a live person eventually comes on the line, consumers discover that it is not a job offer but an effort to sell them educational opportunities. Some consumers say they were called multiple times and asked for personal information, which the BBB cautions them never to give out to callers they do not know. Thomas Gallagher, president of the Richmond BBB, stresses that contrary to the company’s claims, it is not BBB-accredited.

Free ASAPro Webinar Today—How to Handle Harassment Claims

Don’t miss today’s ASAPro webinar, “Conducting Harassment Investigations With Clients,” from 3 to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Employment law expert Gerald L. Maatman Jr., Esq., will explain staffing firms’ and their clients’ legal obligations when investigating harassment claims, how to effectively conduct a coordinated investigation with clients, and more.

This webinar is free for ASA members and qualifies for legal continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. Register online at

Now Available for Preorder: ASA Certified Search ConsultantSM Program

Right now, you can preorder the association’s new certification package, which has been specifically designed for search and placement professionals. The ASA Certified Search Consultant program focuses on federal employment laws specific to recruiters and on state licensing and registration laws applicable to direct hire firms.

ASA will release study tools, a practice exam, and the online exam for the CSCSM credential at the 2013 ASA Staffing Law Conference in Washington, DC, May 7–8. The association will begin fulfilling orders immediately following the conference. Go to to place an order. Questions? Contact ASA at or 703-253-2020.