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Lexicon Staffing Quoted In The Wall Street Journal

August 10th, 2011

Hiring Shows Growing Strength
By Conor Dougherty
2 April, 2011
The Wall Street Journal

The American job market is starting to show some muscle.

The government’s broadest snapshot of the labor market showed the U.S. created 216,000 jobs in March as the private sector added 230,000 jobs, offset in part by continued cuts by local governments.
The jobless rate, the most politically salient measure of economic health, edged down to 8.8%, its fourth consecutive monthly decline even though more Americans entered the job market. The unemployment rate has now dropped one percentage point since November.

The data suggest the recovery from the deepest recession in generations finally is translating into significant job growth, a welcome sign of momentum in the face of threats from higher oil prices and supply disruptions after the Japanese earthquake.

The news sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 56.99 points to 12376.72, its highest close of 2011.
“It’s a very solid report that shows the labor market gaining momentum,” said David Greenlaw, an economist with Morgan Stanley in New York. He estimated that of the one-percentage-point decline in the jobless rate over the past four months, 0.8 point was due to rising employment and the rest to a contraction in the labor force.
The jobs report showed that strong growth in business’s output and profits still isn’t translating to sustained pay increases. Hourly wages were flat in the month, while hours worked also were unchanged.

Stagnant wage growth is a concern because workers have seen more of their disposable income eaten up by higher costs for food and fuel. But it may reassure the Federal Reserve, where some have grown more outspoken about inflation fears.

Indeed, the jobs data set the stage for a shift in Fed policy. With the labor market gaining a more solid footing, a $600 billion program of Treasury bond purchases appears likely to end in June. This will effectively mean the Fed is moving from easing monetary policy to a neutral stance of no longer easing but not yet beginning to tighten policy.
The next debate inside the Fed — about when and how to raise interest rates — has only begun to take shape. A slew of officials from regional Fed banks have spoken out over the past two weeks, with several calling for a swift rise in interest rates as a means of heading off inflation. But leading decision makers at the Fed, including New York Fed President William Dudley, Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and Chairman Ben Bernanke, have either thrown cold water on the idea of a quick move to tighten or haven’t addressed the issue.

“Economic conditions have improved in the past year. Yet, the recovery is still tenuous,” Mr. Dudley said in a speech in Puerto Rico Friday.

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, praised the month’s “solid employment growth” but added: “As long as millions of people are looking for jobs, there is still considerable work to do to replace the jobs lost in the downturn.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said, “Any improvement in the jobs picture is welcome news for the country, but Washington needs to do more to end the uncertainty plaguing job creators.”

Even with Friday’s robust report, the U.S. has 13.5 million unemployed people, and the percentage of them who are long-term unemployed — meaning they have been out of work six months or more — grew to 45.5% from 43.9% in February. If monthly job growth continued along last month’s trajectory, it would take eight years for the unemployment rate to return to its pre-recession level of around 5%.

The public sector remained a weak point, as local governments shed 15,000 jobs last month in an effort to close budget gaps. But many other sectors showed strong growth. Professional and business services gained 78,000 jobs. Factories added 17,000 jobs, while health care added 37,000. Over the past 12 months, health care has added an average of 24,000 jobs a month.

The government also revised upward job figures for the two previous months, indicating the economy added 7,000 more jobs than previously thought.

The positive news on jobs comes amid worries about the pace of the recovery. Some forecasters recently downgraded their estimates for growth in the first quarter, blaming weaker-than-expected consumer spending amid higher prices for food and energy.

J.P. Morgan Chase economists last month lowered their estimate of first-quarter growth in gross domestic product to an annualized 2.5% pace from 3.5%, citing weaker-than-expected economic data.

A separate report Friday emphasized manufacturing’s strength. The Institute for Supply Management said its gauge of factory activity, which is based on a survey of purchasing managers, slipped slightly to 61.2 in March from 61.4 the month before. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Scott Thompson, President of Lexicon Staffing in Beaverton, Ore., has seen evidence of employers’ new willingness to add jobs. For the past year, Mr. Thompson’s staffing agency has filled mostly temporary-job vacancies. Over the past few months, he has seen employers shift toward hiring far more permanent workers. Full-time hires represent about 40% of his worker placements now, compared with 10% a year ago.

“That says to me that budgets are loosening up,” he said.

Matt Goff, a 39-year-old computer-network engineer, recently used Lexicon to switch jobs. Mr. Goff, who got his new job last Monday, had been looking for a new position for months, in part because his last employer had been cutting staff, raising employee contributions for health-care benefits and cutting back perks such as paying for training courses.

“When I started looking, there were times when you would [go online] and see no new jobs in my field for days on end,” he said. “Now I see usually anywhere between three and five new jobs in a day.”

His new job comes with a 10% pay cut, but he says his take-home pay is likely to go up because his health insurance will cost less.

Lexicon Staffing Named Top Staffing Firm in 2010

November 16th, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore., November 16, 2010 — Lexicon Staffing, Inc., a market leader in national staffing solutions, was recognized as a Top Staffing Firm in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2010. The list is compiled by the Portland Business Journal newspaper and ranked by the number of internal staff members.

“We are very pleased to be recognized by the Portland Business Journal as one of the top staffing firms in Oregon and Southwest Washington again. To be on this list in consecutive years is a great honor that we take a lot of pride in. We have an exceptional recruiting team at Lexicon Staffing, and this has been a major factor in our growth over the past several years.” said Scott Thompson, President of Lexicon Staffing.

About Lexicon Staffing, Inc.
Lexicon Staffing is a full-service staffing firm that specializes in contract, contract-to-hire, direct placement, and payroll services for companies nationwide. Lexicon Staffing has relationships with various sized organizations ranging from smaller start-ups, to Fortune 500 companies. www.lexiconsolutions.com.

Lexicon Staffing, Inc. named as one of the 100 fastest-growing privately held companies in Oregon and Southwest Washington for the second year in a row.

August 4th, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore., June 24, 2010 — Lexicon Staffing, Inc., a market leader in national staffing solutions, was recently ranked 38th overall on the list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in Oregon and Southwest Washington by the Portland Business Journal.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of Oregon’s fastest-growing privately held companies for the second year in a row.” said Scott Thompson, President of Lexicon Staffing. “Over the past six years, our company has experienced solid growth in an economy when many companies have not been so fortunate. This is a direct testament to our great internal staff and their ability to make Lexicon Staffing stand out among our peers in the staffing industry.”

The annual Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list recognizes the privately owned companies in Oregon and Southwest Washington that have demonstrated the most revenue growth over the past 3 years, as compiled by the Portland Business Journal newspaper. This list includes companies in industries such as healthcare, real estate, and technology.

“We are fortunate to work with many great clients who have given us the opportunity to grow with them.” said Adam Tucker, Lexicon Staffing’s Executive Vice President & CEO. “Repeat business is one of the reasons that our company has sustained it’s growth over the past several years, and we have achieved this by working diligently for each and every customer and setting a high standard of excellence.”

Lexicon Staffing Named Top Staffing Firm

December 7th, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore., November 13, 2009 — Lexicon Staffing, Inc., a market leader in national staffing solutions, was recognized as a Top Staffing Firm in Oregon and Southwest Washington. The list is compiled by the Portland Business Journal newspaper and ranked by the number of local internal staff members.

“We are very pleased to be recognized again by the Portland Business Journal and to be listed among other top firms in the area. Our presence on this list indicates that Lexicon Staffing has been recognized for doing what we’ve done daily; striving to provide our clients with local access to the best national talent while emphasizing quality and an exceptional level of service.” said Adam Tucker, Chief Executive Officer of Lexicon Staffing.

About Lexicon Staffing, Inc.
Lexicon Staffing is a full-service staffing firm that specializes in contract, contract-to-hire, direct placement, and payroll services for companies nationwide. Lexicon Staffing has relationships with various sized organizations ranging from smaller start-ups, to Fortune 500 companies. www.lexiconsolutions.com

Lexicon Staffing quoted in The Wall Street Journal

September 28th, 2009

The Long Slog: Out of Work, Out of Hope

Excerpt From The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2009 Article Link>>

As Bill Jacobs hunted fruitlessly for work nine months after his layoff, it dawned on him that those nine months might, themselves, be part of his problem.

One clue was the conversation the computer specialist had with a job recruiter this summer. “The first question was, ‘When did you get laid off?’ The next one was, ‘How come you haven’t had a job since then?'”

Nearly 15 million Americans are jobless, and the number is widely expected to remain high even as the economy slowly begins to recover. Part of the problem many of the unemployed face: the very fact that they have been out of work a long time.

About five million of the jobless are what economists class as “long-term unemployed,” people who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. As challenging as it is for anyone to find a good job in this economy, it can be even harder for people out of work a long time.

Skills atrophy. Demoralization sets in and can become permanent. Some potential employers shy away.

Discouraged, some workers who have spent many months on the sidelines simply fade out of the work force, applying for union pensions or Social Security benefits they didn’t intend to take until much later, or trying to get in on other government programs such as Social Security disability benefits.

The probability that a laid-off worker will find a job grows smaller the longer people have been out of work, according to studies in the 1980s by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Bruce Meyer of the University of Chicago. “Someone unemployed for six months is much less likely to find a job in the next month than someone unemployed for one month,” Mr. Katz says.

The problem today: The proportion of the unemployed who have been out of work for over 26 weeks, at one-third, is the highest since World War II.

Mr. Katz, Mr. Meyer and other researchers also have found that wages the laid-off can expect when they do find a new job also tend to be lower the longer they were without work.

Scott Thompson has an on-the-ground view of their prospects. He is president of Lexicon Staffing, a technology recruiting firm in Portland, Ore. Employers he deals with don’t ever explicitly say they are less interested in people who have been out of work for an extended period, “but their actions tell me exactly that,” Mr. Thompson says. “We will send two or three candidates for a job. More often than not, the guy who has recent experience up to last month is the guy that gets the interview.”

A growing number of long-out-of-work adults facing these odds appear to be giving up. The labor-force participation rate — the proportion of working-age people who either have jobs or are actively looking for one — was 65.5% in August. That was the lowest in 22 years, according to the Labor Department.

Lexicon Staffing, Inc. named the 22nd fastest-growing privately held company in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

June 22nd, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore., June 22, 2009 — Lexicon Staffing, Inc., a market leader in national staffing solutions, was recently ranked 22nd overall on the list of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in Oregon and Southwest Washington by the Portland Business Journal.

“We are very pleased to be recognized as one of Oregon’s fastest-growing private companies,” said Adam Tucker, executive vice president and CEO of Lexicon Staffing. “Lexicon has focused on what we do best – providing versatile, quality driven staffing solutions.” The annual Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies list recognizes the privately owned companies in Oregon and Southwest Washington that have demonstrated the most revenue growth over the past 3 years, as compiled by the Portland Business Journal newspaper. This list includes companies in industries such as healthcare, real estate, and technology. “This award belongs to everyone at Lexicon,” said Scott Thompson, Lexicon Staffing’s president. “I am sincerely gratefully and give full credit to the dedicated and skilled employees on our team who deliver outstanding results to our clients each and every day.”

Wall Street Journal article featuring Scott Thompson, President of Lexicon Staffing, Inc.

May 27th, 2009

Excerpt From The Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2009 Article Link ››

PORTLAND, Ore. — In October, as the stock market tanked and the economy shed 400,000 jobs, Matt Singer moved from Oxnard, Calif. to Portland, Ore. He didn’t have a job, but he was attracted to the city’s offbeat culture and hungered for change. Mr. Singer’s plan was to get an editing or writing gig at an alternative weekly newspaper, the job he was doing in California.

Seven months later, the 26-year-old is still without a steady job — and still here. “I wasn’t really aware of how bad the job situation was at the time,” says Mr. Singer.

This drizzly city along the Willamette River has for years been among the most popular urban magnets for college graduates looking to start their careers in a small city of like-minded folks. Now the jobs are drying up, but the people are still coming. The influx of new residents is part of the reason the unemployment rate in the Portland metropolitan area has more than doubled to 11.8% over the past year, and is now above the national average of 8.9%.

Some new arrivals are burning through their savings as they hunt for jobs that no longer exist. Some are returning home. Others are settling for low-paying jobs they are overqualified for.

With his search for a journalism job coming up short, Mr. Singer has spent thousands in savings, and is now earning $12 an hour at a temporary job scanning loan documents, a task he says is so mind-numbing he listens to his iPod all day. “Careerwise, it’s definitely not what I’d like to be doing,” says Mr. Singer.

The worst recession in a generation is disrupting migration patterns and overturning lives across the country. Yet, cities like Portland, along with Austin, Texas, Seattle and others, continue to be draws for the young, educated workers that communities and employers covet. What these cities share is a hard-to-quantify blend of climate, natural beauty, universities and — more than anything else — a reputation as a cool place to live. For now, an excess of young workers is adding to the ranks of the unemployed. But holding on to these people through the downturn will help cities turn around once the economy recovers.

Portland has attracted college-educated, single people between the ages of 25 and 39 at a higher rate than most other cities in the country. Between 1995 and 2000, the city added 268 people in that demographic group for every 1,000 of the same group living there in 1995, according to the Census Bureau. Only four other metropolitan areas had a higher ratio. The author of the Census report on these “youth magnet” cities, Rachel Franklin, now deputy director the Association of American Geographers, says the Portland area’s critical mass of young professionals means it has a “sustained attractiveness” for other young people looking for a place to settle down.

[Mind Magnet]

Indeed, the trend has appeared to continue. Between 2005 and 2007, only eight metropolitan areas — many of them bigger — added more college-educated migrants of any age than did Portland, the nation’s 23rd largest metro area, according to an analysis of Census data by William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. A more detailed breakdown by age isn’t yet available, but Mr. Frey and other demographers say the bulk of the movers are likely between the ages of 25 and 39, the most mobile age group by far.

Portland’s bleak job market might seem like a reason to stay away, but some of the newcomers say the pull of a different city is greater than the fear of unemployment. Some had already lost their jobs where they used to live, so there wasn’t much keeping them there.

“A lot of people figure there aren’t jobs anywhere, so they might as well be where they want to be,” says Mark McMullen, a senior economist at Moody’s economy.com.

Portland isn’t discouraging the young and educated from coming, though the glut of workers puts more stress on city services. One of the most important factors in a city’s economic success is the education level of its work force, says Harvard University economist Edward Glaeser. Cities such as Detroit and Cleveland that have exported college graduates in recent years are trying to retain them with everything from internship programs to building artists’ lofts.

“I’m hopeful people will stick around,” says Portland mayor Sam Adams. “Even if they come to my city without a job, it is still an economic plus.”

As migration within the U.S. slows as jobs disappear and home prices fall, Portland is one of the few cities to which people of all ages are moving. Of the top 25 destinations for domestic migrants between July 2006 and July 2007, before the recession started, Census data show only four drew more people in the subsequent 12 months, between July 2007 and July 2008, when the U.S. was in recession, according to an analysis by Mr. Frey.

Portland

The four places: Portland, Seattle, Denver, and Houston, which in addition to attracting college graduates, enjoyed a boom fueled by high oil prices. In Seattle, the number of people in the labor force, both working and looking for work, has continued to grow faster than the national average, even though there are fewer jobs.

The inflow of young college grads helped change Portland’s economy over the past two decades. Most notably, it contributed to an increase in the fraction of Oregon workers with college degrees to 28.3% in 2007 (above the national average of 27.5%) from 19.5% in 1990 (below the national average of 21.3%), according to Moody’s Economy.com. Of course, some of that increase came from older educated migrants, as well as homegrown college graduates.

Portland’s culture and businesses have come to reflect the city’s youthful edge. Among U.S. metro areas with more than a million people, only Seattle — another magnet for the young and educated — has more coffee shops per capita than Portland, according to NPD Group. Roughly 8% of Portlanders commute regularly by bike, the highest proportion of any major U.S. city and about 10 times the national average, according to Boulder, Colo., bike-advocacy group Bikes Belong.

Andrew McGough, executive director of Worksystems Inc., a Portland nonprofit that helps people find work, says he’s seen young people continue to stream into the city even as the economy has worsened. “Assuming they are educated, we like it,” says Mr. McGough, who moved to Portland himself without a job in the early 1990s.

Portland’s vibrant music scene was part of what drew Ryan Suarez, a 28-year-old civil engineer, from San Diego two years ago. In February 2007, when Portland’s unemployment rate was about half what it is today, Mr. Suarez took a one-week trip to scout for jobs, lined up five interviews — and got five offers. But construction work has slowed with the rest of the economy. Mr. Suarez says his firm has had two rounds of layoffs; he survived, but took a 20% wage cut. “Things have changed a lot,” he says.

Tyler Carney, a 29-year-old computer programmer, moved here from Tulsa, Okla. in September when the Internet-security company he was working for relocated to downtown Portland. He was laid off two months later, and today is living off the $417 in weekly unemployment checks. He has trimmed expenses, such as cutting out restaurant meals, ending cable and switching to slower Internet service. Mr. Carney is spending most of his days job-hunting, but has no plans to go back to Tulsa anytime soon. “Portland is a little more progressive than Tulsa was, as far as the culture goes,” he says. “This town is awesome. Tulsa tended to roll up the streets at night.”

Scott Thompson, president of Lexicon Staffing, Inc. in the Portland area, says the information technology staffing firm continues to get calls from new arrivals looking for work. Many, he says, are less interested in jobs and more interested in Portland’s quality of life, such as the city’s proximity to the Oregon coastline and the Cascade Mountains. “You have to wonder what would inspire someone to walk into a situation where you have higher than U.S. average unemployment rate,” he says.

For Brian DeGrush, 28, it’s a visit he paid to the city two years ago to see friends. He says he loved the social life and the green landscape, and when he went back about a month ago with his girlfriend, it was to scout out jobs and neighborhoods to live in. On Saturday, he graduates from the MBA program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but hasn’t yet found a job.

If he doesn’t find work soon, Mr. DeGrush says he and his girlfriend will probably just move to Portland over the summer and hope for the best. “We’re debating just trying to find part-time stuff and scrounging by until something more permanent opens up,” he says.

As unemployment has risen, businesses have felt the pain. So many restaurants have closed in recent months that the Portland alternative newspaper Willamette Week recently started a column called “Restaurant Apocalypse” to keep track of closings. “Everybody is holding on to their money,” says Ryan Birkland, a Portland artist who does abstract paintings of flowers and koi fish on glass, sheet metal and other recycled materials. Mr. Birkland sells art across a range of prices, but says sales of $400 to $500 pieces, which are mostly purchased by young professionals, are down about 25% compared with this time last year.

The scarcity of jobs has college grads competing for positions they might not have considered just a few years ago. HotLips Pizza, a local institution that touts ingredients from nearby farms and whose owner drives a stubby electric car emblazoned with the restaurant’s rouge lips logo, recently posted a job for a sous-chef and got hundreds of résumés in the space of a few days. They were both over- and under-qualified, ranging from the executive chefs at fine dining restaurants that have closed to unemployed computer technicians with zero experience in a kitchen. “People are having a harder time landing,” said Greene Lawson, HotLips’ chef.

Boly:Welch Recruiting, a Portland firm, says it has had several lawyers willing to settle for work as paralegals. The firm says it generally won’t place the lawyers because their over-qualification makes it unlikely they would continue to do paralegal work when the economy turns.

Stephen Anderson, 28, a lawyer who moved in June to Portland from Austin, says for now, he’s happy being over-qualified. He went to Boly:Welch looking for legal or temp work of any kind, and the recruiting firm ended up hiring him to be an assistant to the firm’s recruiters, a job that includes answering phones, getting lunches and occasionally walking the owner’s two poodles. “I know I’m underemployed and if it bothered me more, I guess I’d do more to change it,” he says.

Of course, less-educated migrants are being squeezed, too. Chris McGee, a 29-year-old concrete finisher moved to Oregon about four years ago from Philadelphia to follow his then-girfriend. Mr. McGee was out of work for seven months and exhausted his unemployment benefits. But after applying for dozens of jobs at convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and other places, he finally got a job washing dishes. “It’s just to stop the bleeding in my bank account,” he says. “I’m thankful for it, but it’s just temporary.”

With jobs scarce, some Portland newcomers are going home. Adam Pollock, 36, moved from New York to Portland in December, lured largely by the natural beauty and vibrant cycling scene. “In New York, if you want to get anywhere decent you have to battle traffic for a half-hour on either end of the ride,” he said. Mr. Pollock, a computer consultant, rented a small apartment with a month-to-month lease, figuring he’d trade up after he found a job.

He spent months sending out résumés and trying to drum up consulting work. He looked for work as a bicycle mechanic and as a barista at some coffee shops. As his savings ran out, he finally punted. “It got to the point where, fiscally, the clock had run out,” he said in a recent phone interview from Louisville, Ky. He was visiting relatives on his way back to New York.