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Jobless Claims in U.S. Increase to Almost Three-Month High

Bloomberg (11/26/14) Lorraine Woellert

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the week ended Nov. 22 rose by 21,000 to 313,000, the highest since early September, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast claims of 288,000. The four-week moving average of new claims rose by 6,250 to 294,000.

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Slows, Service Sector Activity Up

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (11/25/14)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond reported a slowdown in overall manufacturing activity in the fifth district in November, with the composite index falling to 4 from 20 in October. Positive business conditions are expected by firms during the next six months, with faster growth in shipments, the volume of new orders, capacity utilization, and expected order backlogs.

Manufacturing employment grew at a moderate pace, with the index dropping from 14 in October to 10 this month. The index for average wages edged up four points to 15, the expected employment index climbed four points to 22, and the index for expected average wages fell only two points to 24.

A separate survey indicated an increase in service sector activity in the district in November, with the overall revenues index dropping only slightly from a reading of 27 in October to 25 and the expectations index rising one point to 28. Slightly faster price increases are expected over the next six months. The service sector recorded robust growth in employment, with the index climbing 10 points to 24. The index measuring average wage increases also rose four points to 22.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year for Retail Job Seekers

Bloomberg (11/02/14) Steve Matthews

Retail workers are facing the most favorable job market for seasonal work since the 18-month recession that started in December 2007, getting hired with fewer interviews and in some cases with higher pay. About 821,000 workers will be hired for retail seasonal jobs this year, up 11% from a year ago and the highest since records were started in 1990, estimates Michael Niemira, former director of research for the International Council of Shopping Centers Inc. and now founder of economic forecasting firm The Retail Economist LLC.

Seasonal job seekers using the website are finding work in an average of 28 days this year compared with 45 days last year, says company chief executive officer Peter Harrison. The Richmond, VA-based online matching service focuses on part-time and hourly positions. “There is a lot more activity by employers,” he says. “Clearly there is a very strong trend.”

Staffing Today Returns Dec. 1

In observance of Thanksgiving, ASA headquarters will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 28. Staffing Today will return Dec. 1.

Free ASA Webinar Next Month—Tour the New ASA Website

The association’s newly redesigned website features the latest technology and responsive design features, an easier-to-use organizational structure, and one-click access to important staffing industry links and resources. Want to know more? Hear from ASA staff about the new features and learn how you can access the information, data, and resources available to members during the ASA webinar “Guided Tour of the American Staffing Association’s New Website.” It takes place Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1–2 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

Free ASA Webinar Next Month—The Facts About Payroll Cards

If your staffing firm uses a payroll card program, you probably know that these programs are under intense scrutiny by regulators and consumer advocates. Attorney Gerald Maatman Jr. of Seyfarth Shaw LLP will offer advice on avoiding and defending against lawsuits and regulatory enforcement proceedings during the ASA webinar “Payroll Cards—What Staffing Firms Need to Know.” It takes place Thursday, Dec. 18, 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

Welcome New ASA Members

The ASA board of directors and staff welcome the following new members, which joined during the week of Nov. 17.

Alternative Employment Inc.
Torrington, CT

Echelon Staffing Solutions
Mesa, AZ

Law Counsel Professional Staffing
Washington, DC

Metropolitan Protective Services Inc.
Lanham, MD

Ruthi Postnow Staffing Inc.
Washington, DC

Strategic Alliance Contract Staffing
Olney, MD

Unique Employment Services
Corpus Christi, TX