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Economy: SHRM muted hiring forecast, Beige Book, jobless claims fall

March 06 2014

The Society for Human Resource Management forecasts muted hiring for March. Beige Book says harsh weather hurt hiring, but temps convert to perm more quickly in some areas. U.S. jobless claims average falls by 2,000.

Hiring rates in the U.S. service and manufacturing sectors are expected to add fewer jobs this month than they did in March 2012, according to the leading indicators of national employment report released today by the Society for Human Resource Management. The report is based on a survey of human resource executives at more than 500 manufacturing and 500 service-sector firms.

“We are seeing a little bit of a slowdown in March in several areas,” Jennifer Schramm, manager of workforce trends at SHRM. “Hiring will continue, but it won’t be widespread.”

Meanwhile, hiring softened in several U.S. Federal Reserve Districts since the start of January, and unusually harsh winter weather received part of the blame, according to the latest Beige Book report released Wednesday.

However, the Boston Federal Reserve district reported temporary workers were converted to permanent hires at a strong pace, according to the Beige Book. In addition, the Richmond, Va. District reported such conversions are happening at a slight quicker rate.

Several Federal Reserve districts noted shortages of specialized, technical skilled labor such as healthcare professionals and information technology workers.

Separately, the U.S. four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 2,000 in the week ended March 1 to 336,500 from the previous week’s revised figure, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the U.S. Department of Labor. The four-week moving average decreases the volatility of the weekly numbers. Total initial claims for unemployment insurance for the week fell by 26,000 to a total of 323,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 349,000.

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