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U.S. Labor Costs Remain Subdued

Wall Street Journal (11/19/13) Josh Mitchell

The U.S. Department of Labor’s employment-cost index shows that labor costs, including pay and benefits, climbed in the third quarter, up 0.4% from the second quarter and 1.9% from the third quarter of 2012. Labor cost increases held steady during the summer months as hiring slowly picked up, but annual increases during the four-year economic recovery have been much lower than the more than 3% annual gains recorded before the recession. The report indicates that wages and salaries rose 0.3% in the third quarter, following a 0.4% increase in the second quarter, and benefit costs edged up 0.7% in the third quarter, compared with a 0.4% increase in the second quarter.

Bernanke: Fed Committed to Easy Money Policy for as Long as Needed

Reuters (11/19/13) Alister Bull

Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, says the Fed will maintain its easy monetary policy until it is certain that labor market improvements will continue. Bernanke notes that the economy has made progress, but maintains that it still is not where the Fed would like it to be.

“The [Federal Open Market Committee] still expects that labor market conditions will continue to improve and that inflation will move toward the 2% objective over the medium term. If these views are supported by incoming information, the FOMC will likely begin to moderate the pace of [bond] purchases,” he says.

ASA Staffing Employment and Sales Survey Deadline Friday

Share your firm’s data with ASA so you can get the staffing industry information you’re looking for. Participate in the association’s quarterly Staffing Employment and Sales Survey by this Friday, Nov. 22. Staffing firms that complete the survey receive an exclusive report on the results, which includes temporary and contract staffing sales and gross margin data by sector.

The data collected by this survey, conducted by ASA research partner Inavero, are essential to the association’s legal and legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of the staffing industry. Register to take the survey or view a PDF version of the questionnaire at There are no fees to participate.

Free ASAPro Webinar Next Month—Embrace International Workers

Don’t let a fear of the visa process prevent your firm from hiring the best and brightest candidates available. Find out how to use work visas to give your firm a competitive advantage during the ASAPro webinar “Sponsor International Candidates to Increase Your Competitive Advantage.” It takes place Tuesday, Dec. 10, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time.

ASAPro webinars are free for ASA members and qualify for continuing education hours toward ASA certification renewal. To learn more and to register, visit