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Fed Says Economic Expansion Continues Across the U.S.

American Staffing Association (01/16/14)

The outlook for the U.S. economy is largely positive, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest report on regional economies (known as the “beige book”). Most districts reported that their local economy was expanding at a moderate pace, with increased activity in nonfinancial services, retail spending, and real estate. Three specific areas of strength in manufacturing were mentioned by multiple districts: commercial aviation, autos, and construction materials. Most district reports indicated that wage and price pressures were contained. Demand for staffing services increased in the New York, Cleveland, Richmond, Chicago, and Dallas districts, notably to serve the information technology and engineering sectors.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest in More Than a Month

Bloomberg (01/16/14) Victoria Stilwell; Jeanna Smialek

Jobless claims fell by 2,000 to 326,000 in the week ended Jan. 11, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast claims of 328,000. The four-week moving average of claims declined to 335,000 from 348,500 the week before.

Cost of Living in U.S. Increases by Most in Six Months

Bloomberg (01/16/14) Jeanna Smialek

The cost of living in the U.S. rose in December by 0.3%, the most in six months, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This matched the median outlook of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The core measure, which excludes food and fuel, increased 0.1%.

Fed’s Evans: Economy Needs Strong Fed Support for Some Time to Come

Dow Jones Business News (01/15/14) Michael S. Derby

In a speech on Jan. 15, U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said the central bank must continue its “highly accommodative monetary policy” to support the economic recovery. When it comes to the Fed’s bond-buying stimulus efforts, he said, “We decided that the cumulative improvement to that point met the criteria for first scaling back purchases, [but] this decision does not, however, mean we thought the economy needed less overall policy accommodation.”

Evans called the December jobs report “disappointing,” and while he did not say how it would impact cuts to the bond-buying program, he stressed that “the labor market has improved.” Evans forecasts 2.75% economic growth in 2014, and he expects the unemployment rate to drop to 6.0% or less by the end of next year.

Workers at an Amazon Warehouse Reject Forming a Union

New York Times (01/15/14) Steven Greenhouse

A small group of technical workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Middletown, DE, voted overwhelmingly against joining a union. The workers maintain and repair the warehouse’s equipment and refused to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The vote does not affect the vast majority of workers in the warehouse, who are not unionized.

ASAPro Webinar This Month—Fix Your Sales and Recruiting Workflow

Do you have more orders than your firm can process? Find out how to create consistent sales and recruiting workflow processes during the ASAPro webinar “Best Practices in Sales and Recruiting Workflow Processes” It takes place Thursday, Jan. 30, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time.

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

Don’t Miss the ASA Staffing Law Conference

The ASA Staffing Law Conference is the only program dedicated to the legal issues affecting the staffing and recruiting business. Last year’s conference attracted a sold-out crowd, and the upcoming event, May 21–22 in Washington, DC, is likely to be even more popular.

You’ll hear from experts such as Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report; David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration; and a panel of attorneys who serve as in-house counsel for staffing companies.

Learn more about the agenda and register today at