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Yellen Says Rate Rise Likely in 2015 as Job Market Improves

Bloomberg (07/15/15) Christopher Condon; Craig Torres

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that prospects are good for further improvement in the labor market and the economy, keeping the central bank on track for an interest-rate increase in 2015. Yellen delivered her remarks before the House Financial Services Committee. She again emphasized that the timing of the first rate rise hike in nearly a decade is less important than the subsequent path of increases, which she said would be gradual. Yellen added that central bank forecasts for higher rates this year are projections and “not statements of intent to raise rates at any particular time.”

Forecasts issued by the Federal Open Market Committee in June implied two quarter-point rate rises this year, followed by a shallower path of increases than officials predicted in March. The forecasts were included in a Monetary Policy Report released by the Fed Board along with her testimony. While the median forecast of policy makers called for two increases by year-end, a larger number of officials said just one would be enough. The Fed is likely to make its first move in September, according to 76% of 51 economists surveyed by Bloomberg from July 2 to July 8.

Census Bureau: Manufacturing Inventories and Sales Essentially Flat in May

U.S. Census Bureau (07/14/15)

The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for May was a seasonally and trading-day adjusted $1,323.6 billion. This was up 0.4% from April, but down 2.2% from May 2014. On a nonseasonally adjusted basis, total business sales for May were down 4.3%. The seasonally adjusted business-inventories-to-sales ratio was 1.36 at the end of May, up from 1.30 last year. Manufacturers’ and trade inventories for May were estimated at an end-of-month level to be a seasonally adjusted $1,797.8 billion, up 0.3% from April and 2.4% from May of last year.

Empire State Manufacturing Survey

Federal Reserve Bank of New York (07/15/15)

The July 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business conditions improved slightly for New York manufacturers. The headline general business conditions index climbed six points to 3.9. The new orders index was little changed at -3.5, a sign that orders continued to decline, and the shipments index fell four points to 7.9. Labor market indicators signaled a small increase in employment levels and the average workweek. Price indexes pointed to modest increases in both input prices and selling prices, with the prices paid index reaching its lowest level in three years. Indexes for the six-month outlook suggested that optimism about future business conditions was slightly higher than in June, but in line with the trend over the past six months, expectations for improvement remained subdued.

U.S. Producer Prices Rise 0.4% in June

Wall Street Journal (07/15/15) Josh Mitchell; Eric Morath

The producer-price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in June after jumping 0.5% in May, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Wednesday, a sign inflation is slowly picking up from historically weak levels. Core prices, which strip out volatile energy and food components, grew 0.3% in June, the biggest jump since October. Prices last month increased more than most analysts expected. Economists surveyed by Wall Street Journal predicted overall producer prices to climb 0.2% and core prices to climb 0.1%.

White House Cuts Growth Forecast for 2015, 2016

Wall Street Journal (07/15/15) Nick Timiraos

The White House estimates that U.S. growth will rise by just 2% this year before picking up to 2.9% in 2016, according to the White House budget office’s “Mid-Session Review,” released Tuesday. Both of these approximations are down from the previous 3% forecasted growth for 2015 and 2016. According to the report, the annual budget deficit is expected to fall to $455 billion this year, down 22% from the $583 billion projected in February. Short-term estimates for inflation and unemployment were also contracted. The White House now expects the unemployment rate to fall to 5.3% this year, and 4.9% next year—down from the previous forecasts of 5.4% and 5.1%, respectively—and the annual average of the consumer-price index to increase by only 0.2% this year—stopping short of the 1.4% gain that was published in February.

Free ASA Webinar Tomorrow—Best Tactics for Attracting Candidates

Don’t miss tomorrow’s ASA webinar “Best Practices for Recruiting Optimization,” 3–4 p.m. Eastern time. Learn how to get greater numbers of motivated candidates to respond to your recruitment efforts.

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

ASA Quarterly Staffing Employment and Sales Survey Now Open

The association’s quarterly Staffing Employment and Sales Survey for the second quarter of 2015 is now open. Staffing firms that complete the brief survey will receive an exclusive report on the results—now enhanced with graphs and an executive summary. The report also includes representations of sector-level data.

The data collected by this survey enable ASA to track staffing sales and gross margin trends. Participate in the Staffing Employment and Sales Survey by Aug. 19 to get the staffing industry information you’re looking for.

Register to take the survey, or view the questionnaire, at The survey is sponsored by ASA research partner CareerBuilder, and there are no fees to participate.