The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index points to healthy job growth in the coming months. Following an increase in March, the index ticked up sharply in April and now stands at 132.64, up from 131.58 in March. April’s reading is up 4.1 percent over where the index stood one year ago.
“The Employment Trends Index has been expanding rapidly in 2017, suggesting that robust job growth will continue into the summer,” says Gad Levanon, The Conference Board’s chief economist, North America. “A tight labor market is about to get much tighter, with solid employment growth occurring at a time when there is almost no growth in the working-age population.”
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.
April’s increase in the index is attributed to positive contributions from seven of the eight components. In order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Percentage of Firms with Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Industrial Production, Job Openings, Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. Also factored into the index is an indicator derived from The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey, which tallies the percentage of respondents who say they find jobs “hard to get.”