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Fed: Economic Activity Expanded and Demand for Staffing Services Grew

Economic activity continued to expand in October and November, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s latest report on regional economies (known as the “beige book”). Employment gains were widespread across all 12 districts during the six-week reporting period.

Several districts reported broad-based growth in demand for staffing services, noting an increase in temporary staffing as well as an increase in temporary-to-permanent job transitions. Most districts reported little change in holiday hiring relative to last year. Upward wage pressures continued to be evident for certain types of occupations and for skilled workers.

Volt Information Sciences Inc. Sells Computer Systems Business

Volt Information Sciences News Release (12/03/14)

Volt Information Sciences Inc. has sold its computer systems segment to NewNet Communication Technologies LLC, a Skyview Capital portfolio company. Volt is aligning its portfolio of businesses around staffing and services with similar profitability, risks, and returns on capital.

Growth in U.S. Services Firms Accelerates in November

Associated Press (12/03/14)

The Institute for Supply Management’s services index increased to 59.3 in November from 57.1 in October, signaling that overall economic growth is expected to remain strong. The index hit 59.6 in August, the highest point in eight years. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

Jobless Claims in U.S. Decrease

Bloomberg (12/04/14) Nina Glinski; Victoria Stilwell

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits in the week ended Nov. 29 decreased by 17,000 to 297,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast claims of 295,000. The four-week moving average of new claims rose by 4,750 to 299,000.

Job Quits Are Blooming as Economy Brightens

USA Today (12/03/14) Paul Davidson

Signaling a strengthening economy, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that close to 2.8 million Americans quit their jobs in September, marking the highest level since April 2008. Many workers in the health care, technology, and engineering fields are quitting jobs after only a few months, because high demand makes it easier for them to switch to better-paying jobs, says marketing chief Paul D’Arcy. “We’re hearing from candidates who have a pent-up desire to make a move,” says Tricia Sitelis, vice president of ManpowerGroup.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, adds that recent college graduates and other young workers are leaving their jobs after finding better matches, having taken jobs early in the economic recovery that did not fully utilize their skills or had low salaries. To retain workers, more employers are offering perks, such as leadership development courses, and increasing pay. According to Automatic Data Processing, annual pay raises rose 4.5% in the third quarter among private-sector workers who held the same job, versus 3.5% in the 2013 third quarter, but those who switched jobs achieved average pay raises of 5.6%.

Free ASA Webinar Next Week—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