Employment Trends Slip In The Conference Board’s Latest Figures

The Conference Board reports that its Employment Trends Index (ETI) decreased in November and now stands at 128.69. While November’s figure is down from 129.75 in October, the change does represent a 2.7 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

“Despite the strong numbers on job creation in the past few months, the Employment Trends Index posted the largest one month decline since the Great Recession, with five of the eight components contributing negatively to the index,” says Gad Levanon, managing director of macroeconomic and labor market research at The Conference Board. “While two of the components—initial claims for unemployment and our forecast of job openings—suggest modest adverse developments, their levels are still healthy. However, the past month’s weakness in consumer confidence in job growth and the slowdown in temporary help needs careful watching. Overall, there is reason for caution to not linearly extrapolate the current strong growth into 2016.”

The ETI aggregates eight labor market indicators into a composite index to filter out “noise” to show trends more clearly. November’s decrease in the ETI was driven by negative contributions from five of the eight components. In order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Job Openings, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance and Number of Temporary Employees.

Other labor market indicators aggregated into the ETI include the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now, from the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation; industrial production, from the Federal Reserve Board; and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ real manufacturing and trade sales data.

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