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The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) declined in September, following an increase in August. The index now stands at 110.77, down from 111.18 (an upward revision) in August. The change represents a 6.7% gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.
“Despite this month’s decline – the result of just two components – the index remains on a solid upward trend, and has been growing rapidly in recent months,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “The US economy is very strong now. Demand for workers is likely to continue growing rapidly in the coming quarters, but with the unemployment rate now at 3.7 percent, recruiters have their work cut out for them. They will have to bring more people off the sidelines faster. In the meantime, businesses will have to squeeze more out of their current workers, either by increasing working hours or raising labor productivity. Labor market tightness varies across occupations and geographies. However, for the nation we expect the unemployment rate to go down to 3.5 percent or even lower in 2019. We also expect labor force participation and productivity to gradually increase, and wages to further accelerate.”
September’s decrease in the ETI was fueled by negative contributions from two of the eight components. From the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: the Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers and the Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get.”
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)
About The Conference Board
The Conference Board delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. We connect senior executives across industries and geographies to share ideas, develop insights, and recommend policy to address key issues. Our mission is to help leaders anticipate what’s ahead, improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.