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Economy Entering New Year on a Roll

Wall Street Journal (12/25/13) Sarah Portlock; Josh Mitchell

The recent positive reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce on durable goods and new-home sales suggest that the economy is doing better heading into 2014. “It’s a holly, jolly data Christmas for the economy as all signs point to an accelerating economy,” says Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.

Orders for U.S. durable goods climbed 3.5% last month, reversing the decline seen in October. Excluding the volatile transportation category, manufactured-goods orders rose 1.2%, the biggest increase since May. Meanwhile, new-home sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 last month, down 2.1% from October’s upwardly revised annual rate of 474,000. October and November were the two most robust months of new-home sales since mid-2008.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell More Than Forecast Last Week

Bloomberg (12/26/13) Shobhana Chandra

Jobless claims declined by 42,000 to 338,000 in the week ended Dec. 21, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a drop to 345,000. The four-week moving average rose to 348,000 last week from 343,750.

Richmond Fed Index Shows Manufacturing Increase

Wall Street Journal (12/24/13) Kathleen Madigan

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, business conditions are currently at 13, the same as in November but up from one in October. A reading above zero indicates expansion. The new-orders index slowed to 10 from 15 in November. The shipment index this month fell to 15 from 16. The employment index rose to 14 from six in November, while the workweek index fell to six from 12. Manufacturers expect improvement over the next six months.

Health-Insurance Deadlines Keep Slipping

Wall Street Journal (12/25/13) Peter Landers

President Obama has decided to partly suspend the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Furthermore, many states extended their enrollment deadlines to accommodate people who waited until the last minute to sign up for insurance on the health care exchanges. The federal site also extended its deadline, and although the deadline has now passed, the government is telling people who missed the deadline that they should contact a call center and that people may still be able to be covered by Jan. 1.

Your ASA-Affiliated Chapter—A Powerful Partner

How can you increase your network, provide leadership opportunities for your staff, and protect your business?

Become a member of the ASA-affiliated chapter in your area. There are ASA-affiliated chapters operating across the U.S. and in almost every marketplace. Joining your chapter is an important business investment. By getting involved with your local chapter, you contribute to effective staffing industry representation in your state. And your chapter may help reduce your business expenses by offering discounts on goods and services.

Get involved with the chapter in your area today. For more information, visit or contact Tracy Rettie, assistant vice president, chapter relations and education, at 703-253-2028 or trettie@americanstaffing.n et.