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Beige Book: Staffing Firms Report Slight Improvement

November 29 2012

Hiring improved slightly in most Federal Reserve districts and wage growth was modest at best, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book report released Wednesday. Labor markets reportedly are improving modestly in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas district.

Staffing firms in the Boston and Cleveland districts reported improved business conditions. However, staffing firms in the Richmond, Va., district reported weaker labor markets in general, with soft demand and an unwillingness of some manufacturers to hire long-term unemployed workers.

In Atlanta, employment agencies indicated a pickup in orders for temporary help. Some large employers, however, plan to move toward hiring more part-time, rather than full-time, employees. Chicago reported that a number of firms were putting hiring on hold and had delayed temp-to-perm conversion decisions until next year.

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity expanded at a measured pace in recent weeks. Hurricane Sandy affected the New York and Philadelphia districts, and a number or districts expressed concern and uncertainty about the federal budget, especially the fiscal cliff.

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