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U.S. Economy on Course for Steady Growth

MarketWatch (11/24/14) Jeffrey Bartash

The U.S. economy appears to be charting a steady course forward after zigging and zagging repeatedly since exiting recession in 2009. However, the economy is advancing at a relatively modest pace that is below its historical average and growth is unlikely to race ahead soon. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect U.S. growth in the third quarter to be ratcheted down to still-healthy 3.3% from 3.5%. The reason: Exports and business investment in plants and offices were probably somewhat weaker than initially reported.

The flip side is that consumer spending may have been a bit stronger and there is no reason to expect a slowdown in the fourth quarter, especially with a steep drop in gasoline prices giving consumers the equivalent of a year-end bonus. Just as important incomes likely rose in October for the 10th straight month, adding to evidence that wages are beginning to rise, albeit slowly, after hardly any change in the past four years. The biggest spate of hiring in at least a decade is causing labor shortages in some professions that’s spurring companies to offer higher wages as a lure.

Franchisees Buck Wage Push

Wall Street Journal (11/24/14) Melanie Trottman

Franchise-owners are fighting back against organized labor protests and strikes that are expected to last throughout the holiday season. They are attempting to communicate to employees that they work for small businesses, not large corporations. The International Franchise Association will launch a website and hotline with information for franchisees by Dec. 1.

“We’re seeing the perception of [us] being bottom dwellers, yet we feel like we’re job creators,” said David Jones, who owns three Subway restaurants in the Seattle area and who said an employee walked out to join a strike early this year.

Growth in Kansas City Fed District Manufacturing Activity Expanded in November

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City (11/21/14)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s November Manufacturing Survey revealed that Tenth District manufacturing activity in the Plains states expanded at a slightly faster pace in November, and producers’ expectations for future activity increased further.

“Regional factory growth improved somewhat in November, although many contacts reported that the cost to retain or hire quality employees is rising,” said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “The majority of firms expected activity to improve considerably in the next six months.”

Free ASA Webinar Next Month—Make Your Staffing Firm Stand Out

How does a new staffing firm stand out from the crowd? Find out the basics of starting and building a successful staffing firm during the ASA webinar “Secrets to a Successful Staffing Start-Up.” It takes place Tuesday, Dec. 9, 3–4 p.m. Eastern time.

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

Call for Presenters: Share Your Expertise With Industry Peers

Can you offer solutions for the challenges that staffing firms face today? ASA is looking for staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry professionals to share their experience and expertise. The association also is looking for professionals in business, workforce, workplace management, and other disciplines pertinent to the staffing industry to speak at ASA events and present ASA webinars.

ASA is currently accepting proposals for workshops at Staffing World® 2015, the ASA annual convention and expo (due Jan. 5); and Staffing World 2015 Section Forums (due Jan. 30). Proposals for ASA webinars are accepted throughout the year, though earlier submissions get priority.

As a presenter for ASA, you will have the opportunity to reach out to industry professionals and build lasting connections. For more information and to download submission guidelines, visit