Employment Trends Pick Up In February

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The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index recovered in February following a downward tick in January. The index stands at 131.39 in February, representing a 3.1-percent gain on last year’s level.

“The Employment Trends Index increased sharply in February, with positive contributions from each of its eight components, providing more evidence that job growth is accelerating,” says Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “It seems that higher business confidence is carrying over to hiring. As a result, in 2017 labor supply constraints will be strongly felt across many industries and locations.”

In calculating its Employment Trends Index, The Conference Board aggregates eight labor-market indicators that it considers accurate in their own areas. Aggregating indicators into a composite index filters out “noise,” more clearly revealing trends within the data. The indicators come from the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve Board and other sources.

February’s increase in the ETI was fueled by positive contributions from all eight components. In order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, Job Openings, Industrial Production, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, and the Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers.

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