U.S. Employment Continues Upward Pace In August

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index increased in August, building on growth registered in July. The index grew in August to 134.62, up from 133.60 the month before, and is up 5.6 percent from where it stood one year ago.

“The rapid growth in the Employment Trends Index continued in August, suggesting solid job growth in the months ahead,” says Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “While Friday’s job numbers were slightly disappointing, the ETI does not provide any indication of slowing employment growth.”

On September 1, the Department of Labor released data showing that employment increased by 156,000 in August, a slower pace than had been expected and down from the 209,000 jobs added in July. The unemployment rate for July, at 4.4 percent, was little changed from recent months.

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.

Six of the eight of the indicators monitored for the index contributed to its increase in August. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, they were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Industrial Production, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, and Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry.

Other indicators tracked by The Conference Board include the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, from the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, and Job Openings, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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