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U.S. Producer Prices Rose 0.1% in July

Wall Street Journal (08/15/14) Ben Leubsdorf; Jonathan House

The producer-price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in July from June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, an indication that inflationary pressures remain restrained. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.2% increase. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, producer prices increased 0.2%. Meanwhile, prices for services increased 0.1% in July after rising 0.3% in June.

Factory Output Rose in July, Signaling Momentum

Wall Street Journal (08/15/14) Josh Mitchell; Eric Morath

U.S. industrial production increased 0.4% in July from the previous month, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Capacity utilization increased 0.1 percentage point to 79.2%. Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had forecast that output would increase 0.2% and a utilization rate of 79.1%. Manufacturing production rose 1.0%, and vehicle production saw the biggest jump since July 2009 with a 10.0% increase. Overall output has increased steadily over the last six months and in July was up 5% from a year ago, indicating the economy is gaining traction.

Business Continues Improving for New York Manufacturers

Federal Reserve Bank of New York (08/15/14)

The August Empire State Manufacturing Survey from the New York Federal Reserve Bank indicates that business conditions continued to improve for New York manufacturers, but the improvement was less widespread than in July. The headline general business conditions index retreated eleven points to 14.7, after reaching a four-year high last month. The new orders index slipped almost five points to 14.1, while the shipments index edged up a point to 24.6—a multiyear high.

Labor market conditions were mixed but continued to improve overall. The index for number of employees slipped three points to 13.6, suggesting a slight pullback in the pace of hiring. However, the average workweek index rose six points to 8.0, signaling a slight increase in hours worked.

Monetary Policy in a Surrealistic Economy

Bloomberg (08/15/14) Victoria Stilwell; Jeff Kearns

Although the number of workers filing claims for unemployment benefits is at the lowest level since 1967, the number of long-term unemployed is larger than at any time prior to the 2007-09 recession. On the one hand, this means U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen is behind the curve given that monetary policy from the recession era remains in place, but on the other hand, it appears the central bank’s near-zero interest rates are responsible for modest gains during a fragile recovery.

As a result, experts are divided as to when the Fed should start raising rates for the first time since 2006. While Yellen says policy makers need to be sure the economy is on a solid footing before raising rates, most Fed officials expect the benchmark rate will need to be increased at some point in 2015. Strengthening job data has added to the challenge, prompting economists to worry that the Fed is overshooting its inflation target and encouraging bubble-like conditions by maintaining easy monetary policy.

ASA Quarterly Staffing Employment and Sales Survey Closes Aug. 20

The association’s quarterly Staffing Employment and Sales Survey for the second quarter of 2014 will close Wednesday, Aug. 20—so there is still time to participate and get the staffing industry information you’re looking for. Staffing firms that complete the seven-question survey will receive an exclusive report on the results—now enhanced with new graphs, including representations of sector-level data.

The data collected by this survey, which is sponsored by ASA research partner CareerBuilder, enables ASA to track staffing sales and gross margin trends. To register to take the survey, or view the questionnaire, go to There are no fees to participate.

Free ASAPro Webinar Next Month—Build a Sales Playbook

Do you know which strategies and tactics will best help you sell your firm’s services to potential clients? Find out how to develop a guide for properly executing each step of the sales process during the ASAPro webinar “How to Design Your Sales Playbook: Driving Repeatable Winning Sales Behavior.” It takes place Thursday, Sept. 11, 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

Welcome New ASA Members

The ASA board of directors and staff welcome the following new members, which joined during the week of Aug. 4.

Bridge Consulting Group LLC
Seattle, WA

Career Tech Staffing
Mentor, OH

David Carrie Staffing LLC
New York, NY

Elevano Consulting Inc.
Irvine, CA

Focus of Georgia Inc.
Atlanta, GA

The Goodman Group / Platinum Career Solutions
Chanhassen, MN

HealthPro Staffing Resources
Shrub Oak, NY

Hopkins Services LLC
Madison, MS

Piedmont Staffing Solutions Inc.
Asheboro, NC

Profiles Placement Services
Baltimore, MD

Quality Control Consultants Group LLC
Smyrna, TN

Herndon, VA

SNI Cos.
West Des Moines, IA

StaffLink Ltd.
North Andover, MA

Williams & Williams Management Group Inc.
Elkins Park, PA

Workforce Solutions Group Inc.
Lake Forest, CA