Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Job market update

The ASA Staffing Index, a measure of temporary and contract employment, rose 2.2% in the week ending Sept. 18th. It normally rises as the year progresses, especially as companies expand part-time staff to handle the holidays. This year has been no exception, but the rise in the index has been more muted than it was last year, and the index is 1.2% below where it was during the same week last year. This jibes with the slower pace of economic growth we've seen so far this year, but more importantly, it does not reflect any deterioration of the kind that would validate the FOMC's recently-expressed concern that "there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook."

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