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US – Beige Book: Slight improvement in labor markets

June 06 2013

Hiring increased at a measured pace in several districts, with some contacts noting difficulty finding qualified workers, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released Wednesday. Some districts reported difficulty finding qualified people to fill vacancies including New York; Philadelphia; Richmond, Va.; Minneapolis; Kansas City; and Dallas.

A number of districts reported solid demand for workers in information technology, healthcare and engineering.

Labor markets continued to improve in the New York district and the temp business remains strong, but a growing number of firms are hiring full-time workers. Qualified job candidates are said to be increasingly hard to find, but most New York district employers still hold the line on compensation, though some are becoming more negotiable.

Among staffing services firms, billable hours increased in the Philadelphia district but decreased in the Boston district. Staffing services were steady in the Dallas district and mixed in the Cleveland district. The outlook for hiring was generally positive in the Minneapolis district.

In the Boston district, businesses primarily were not hiring much beyond replacement, while labor markets in the Richmond district were uneven.

Labor markets continued to slowly improve slowly in the Chicago district, and the St. Louis district reported that employment levels over the past three months have stayed the same or increased for a majority of contacts. Labor markets held steady in the Dallas district.

Labor markets tightened in the Minneapolis district, particularly near the oil boom area in western North Dakota and eastern Montana, but the outlook for hiring was generally positive.

The Richmond district cited employment reductions due to either cutbacks in government orders or staffing at government offices, but the outlook for hiring was generally positive. New hours of service regulations may exacerbate difficulty finding truck drivers in the Richmond district, as well as the Cleveland district. The Atlanta district also cited employment reductions due to cutbacks in government orders or staffing at government offices.

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