The Conference Board Employment Trends Index Down Slightly in March

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Employment Trends Index Still Signaling Moderate Job Growth

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index declined in March.

The index now stands at 111.20, down from 111.43 (an upward revision) in February. The March figure is 3.7% higher than a year ago.

“Despite the decline in March, the Employment Trends index is still signaling moderate job growth in the coming months,” said Gad Levanon, director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board.

“The current trend suggests faster growth than the disappointing increase of 88,000 jobs in March. At the same time, 200,000 new jobs per month in the current economic environment is not in the cards either.”

March’s weakening in the ETI was driven by negative contributions from four of its eight components. The declining indicators — from the largest negative contributor to the smallest — were Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, and Job Openings.

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)
  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers (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:

Source: The Conference Board

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