Here are our top staffing industry news picks for the month of March
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February, and the overall economy grew for the 118th consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management. ISM's purchasing manager's index declined to 54.2% in Feb from 56.6% in Jan. This represents continued growth in the manufacturing sector at a slower rate.
Wages have more room to grow without the risk of higher inflation because productivity rose last year, according to Jerome Powell, U.S. Federal Reserve chairman. "Signs of upward pressure on inflation appear muted despite the strong labor market," with unemployment at 4% and wage increases picking up of late, Powell said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Citizens Budget Commission in New York.
Women are driving most of the gains in the recent rebound of the U.S. labor pool. Since 2016, the labor-participation rate of prime-working-age adults has staged a turnaround. Women account for most of the recovery. The share of prime-age women who are in the labor pool rose to 75.8% in the last quarter of 2018 from 73.8% three years earlier, according to the U.S. BLS.
Economists lowered their forecasts for employment and economic growth in the first quarter, according to a survey of 66 economists by the Wall Street Journal. Private-sector economic forecasters expect U.S. economic output to grow, on average, at a 1.3% pace in the first quarter, a sharp drop from the last survey, in early February, when they forecast a 2.0% growth rate for the January-to-March period.
Industrial production ticked up 0.1% in February, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve. The increase was below Wall Street forecasts of a 0.4% rebound after a substantial decline the month before. January output was revised up to a 0.4% decline from the prior estimate of a 0.6% drop. The increases in February were concentrated in utility output and mining. Manufacturing was down 0.4%, the second consecutive monthly drop.
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued three new opinion letters that address compliance issues related to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. One provides an opinion on the obligation to designate FMLA-qualifying leave; one clarifies FLSA wage and recordkeeping requirements for residential janitors and the "good faith" defense; and one addresses FLSA compliance related to the compensability of time spent participating in an employer-sponsored community service program.
The vast majority (94%) of 491 current and former clients of Express Employment Professionals said in a survey that they have no plans to cut their workforces. Express franchise owners said that the survey is consistent with what they are seeing in communities across the country.
Compensation remains a top driver to attract and retain talent in the U.S., according to Gartner Inc.'s 4Q18 Global Talent Monitor report. Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that is sourced from more than 22,000 employees in 40 countries.
Demand for skilled talent continues to grow as employers across the U.S. are reporting positive hiring intentions (+19%) for the second quarter, according to a survey of more than 11,500 U.S. employers by ManpowerGroup. This is the seventh consecutive year of double-digit hiring outlooks for ManpowerGroup's Employment Outlook Survey.