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Labor markets post slight improvement

April 18 2013

Labor market conditions remained unchanged, or improved slightly, and staffing services continued to improve at a modest rate, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released Wednesday. Hiring was more widespread in the manufacturing, residential construction, information technology and professional services sectors. Several districts reported demand for workers tied to the residential construction sector.

Staffing firms in the Cleveland and Chicago districts reported increases in orders from the manufacturing sector, and several manufacturers in the St. Louis and Kansas City districts plan to expand payrolls. Reports from the New York and Richmond, Va., districts indicated strong demand for temporary workers.

The Minneapolis and Dallas districts reported continued challenges attracting and retaining workers in oil-drilling regions, and several districts faced difficulties finding highly trained or skilled workers, especially in the information technology and engineering fields. The Chicago district cited a stronger job market for new college graduates.

In contrast, hiring activity was limited in the Boston and Cleveland districts, demand for staffing services softened in the Dallas district, and some districts — including Richmond and Atlanta — reported restrained hiring due to uncertainty over fiscal policy or healthcare reform.

Reports from the 12 districts suggest overall economic activity expanded at a moderate pace during the reporting period from late February to early April. To access the Beige Book full report, click here.

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