U.S. Employment Trends Indicate Solid Job Growth Ahead
The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index for March points to healthy job growth in the months ahead. After a strong uptick in February to 131.09, the index grew further in March to 131.43, a 4.3 percent increase over where the index stood one year ago.
“The Employment Trends Index continued to expand in March, suggesting that solid job growth will continue through the spring,” says Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “The surprisingly weak job growth in March is mostly noise in an otherwise healthy and tight labor market.”
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.
March’s increase in the ETI is attributed to positive contributions from six of the eight components. In order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Industrial Production, Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, and Job Openings. Other indicators aggregated into the index include “Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance” from the U.S. Department of Labor, and the “Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now,” from the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation.