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Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease to Lowest Level in a Month

Bloomberg (01/02/14) Michelle Jamrisko

Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 2,000 to 339,000, the lowest in a month, in the period ended Dec. 28, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted 344,000 claims. The less-volatile four-week moving average increased to 357,250 from 348,750.

Many Feel Like Recession Still Hasn’t Ended

USA Today (01/01/14) John W. Schoen

Even though U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other economists expect gradual economic improvement in 2014, many Americans feel that the Great Recession has not ended. Housing and stock prices have risen, the government’s budget deficit has shrunk, consumer spending is up, and the economy grew at a strong 4.1% annual rate in the third quarter, but much of the improvement in the unemployment rate has been tied to people leaving the workforce, rather than finding jobs.

“There is confidence that there is strength in underlying demand. If we see more investment and more hiring by small businesses it could have a very positive impact—because small businesses historically account for the lion’s share of job growth. And that’s where we haven’t seen strong job growth,” says Ira Kalish, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu chief global economist.

Hopeful Signs for U.S. Economy in 2014

Wall Street Journal (01/01/14) David Wessel

Few economists expect that 2014 will be a boom year, but many believe it will outperform each of the last several years. Unemployment is expected to drop to 6.5% by the end of the year.

Forecasters at the U.S. Federal Reserve expect economic growth of between 2.8% and 3.2%. The reasons for optimism in 2014 include improved balance sheets among businesses; improved consumer spending; possible increased business investment; and fewer obstacles from the federal government.

Express CEO: U.S. Job Market Predictions for 2014

Tulsa World (12/31/13) Robert A. Funk

According to Robert Funk, chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals, the unemployment rate at the end of 2014 will drop to between 6.7% and 7.2%. Labor force participation will remain mostly unchanged, between 62.6% and 63.5%.

The impact of the Affordable Care Act and other headwinds from the U.S. federal government will cause hiring uncertainty among businesses. Skilled workers will be hard to find, and the disability rate will continue to rise. Temporary workers could break the workforce penetration rate of 2.03% set in April 2000.

ASA Welcomes Akken as Newest Corporate Partner

Akken Inc., a strong supporter of ASA for many years, has elevated its commitment to the association by becoming a corporate partner. Akken is a leading cloud-based software provider for the staffing industry, and the first software company to be an ASA corporate partner.

“We are proud to partner with the American Staffing Association, one of the strongest and most actively involved industry associations in America. ASA leadership in advancing the interests of staffing and recruiting firms is unparalleled,” says Giridhar Akkineni, Akken’s founder and chief executive officer.

ASA corporate partnerships go beyond traditional sponsorships. They involve mutual commitments to long-term working relationships focused on benefiting both ASA and the partners as organizations dedicated to advancing the interests and meeting the needs of ASA members and the staffing industry.

Join ASA Today and Save

Among the top benefits of joining ASA right now is instant access to the most credible, industry-specific information available regarding the Affordable Care Act and what staffing firms need to be doing right now to prepare.

Join ASA today and start reaping the benefits. Contact the ASA membership team at 703-253-2020 or