Employment Sees Downward Trend

By the Conference Board, Special for US Daily Review.

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) decreased 0.18 percent in March to 107.28, down from the revised figure of 107.47 in February. The March figure is still up over 5 percent (5.2) from the same month a year ago.

“After five months of strong growth, the ETI declined slightly in March,” said Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board. “Together with the disappointing job growth released on Friday, and only moderate improvement in economic activity in recent months, it seems that employment growth in December to February, averaging almost 250,000 a month, may not be a sustainable trend.”

March’s decline in the ETI was driven by negative contributions from three of the eight components. The declining indicators – beginning with the largest negative contributor – were Percentage of Firms with Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get” and Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

  • Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get” (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey®)
  • Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance (U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now (© National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation)
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons (BLS)
  • Job Openings (BLS)**
  • Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)*
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)**

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: http://www.conference-board.org/data/eti.cfm.

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All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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