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Federal Reserve Regional Banks: Manufacturing Activity Mixed in May

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (05/21/15)

Manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region increased modestly in May, according to firms responding to this month’s Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. However, the survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, decreased from 7.5 in April to 6.7 in May.

Firms’ responses suggest some weakening in labor market conditions this month compared with April. Although the percentage of firms reporting an increase in employees in May (19%) exceeded the percentage reporting a decrease (13%), the current employment index fell five points, to 6.7. The percentage of firms reporting a shorter workweek (25%) was greater than the percentage reporting a longer workweek (19%).

Separately, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported that manufacturing activity in the Plains states declined in May and producers’ expectations also fell, with both reaching their lowest levels since mid-2009, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. However, most price indexes increased slightly, reversing a recent trend of decline. In a special question about hiring plans, the majority of firms indicated they were planning to either leave employment levels unchanged or increase them slightly over the next 12 months.

Consumer Prices Up 0.1% in April

Wall Street Journal (05/22/15) Jeffrey Sparshott; Kate Davidson

Consumer prices increased for the third consecutive month in April, a sign inflation is stabilizing. The consumer-price index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in April from March, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Excluding the energy and food categories, core prices rose 0.3%, the biggest increase since January 2013. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast overall prices would rise 0.1% and core prices would increase 0.2%.

Compared with a year ago, overall prices declined 0.2% and core prices climbed 1.8%.

The consumer-price index began declining mid-2014, largely due to falling crude oil prices. A strong dollar also has restrained prices by holding down the cost of imported goods and services.

Staffing Today Returns May 26

In observance of Memorial Day, ASA headquarters will be closed Monday, May 25. Staffing Today will return May 26.

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Receive staffing industry news in real time by following ASA on Twitter.

ASA tweets keep you informed about breaking news and developing trends that could affect your profitability. Twitter followers receive the latest updates on employment data, professional educational programs, and legal and legislative activities.

You can also publicize news about your company by sending a tweet to @StaffingTweets to be retweeted to users who follow ASA on Twitter.

Welcome New ASA Members

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

Hartman Staffing LLC
Hudson, WI

R.L. Barclay & Associates
Houston, TX

Seaside Associates
Newington, NH

Springpoint Technologies
Tulsa, OK

Star HR Inc. dba Star Staffing
Petaluma, CA

Veterinary System Services Inc.
Westminster, CO

Is your firm interested in joining ASA? Contact the membership department at 703-253-2020 or membership@americanstaffing.net.