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US – Beige Book: Staffing Demand Less Than Expected

August 30 2012

Demand for staffing services was generally lower than expected, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released Wednesday. Staffing services in the Boston, New York, Richmond and Dallas districts reported decreases. However, the Boston and Richmond districts reported that demand remained strong for skilled information technology professionals.

As far as employment overall, most districts reported it was holding steady or growing only slightly.

Several districts including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Richmond noted a softening in employment relative to expectations; upcoming layoffs were reported by a defense contractor in the Boston district and by firms in sectors such as air transportation, appliances, and business support services in the St. Louis district. Almost all districts indicated that manufacturers were continuing to hire, albeit modestly.

Demand has been strongest for skilled manufacturing and engineering positions, as well as for IT services. Contacts in the Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City and Dallas districts all reported some difficulty meeting demand for truck drivers.

Upward wage pressure was reported to be very contained across districts. The Philadelphia and Chicago districts both noted that despite little wage pressure, some contacts reported upward pressures for medical benefits.

Economic activity continued to expand gradually in July and early August across most regions and sectors. 

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