(The Conference Board: New York) -- The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) edged up in July, after declining in June. The index now stands at 108.11, up from the revised figure of 107.68. The July figure is 5.9-percent higher than a year ago.
“The Employment Trends Index increased slightly in July, but is still below the May level, and is only slightly above the February level, suggesting that slow employment growth is likely to continue in the next few months,” says Gad Levanon, director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board. “There is no reason to expect employers to rapidly expand their workforce in the current economic environment, and the July pace of job growth (163,000) is unlikely to be sustained.”
July’s increase in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from five of the eight components. The improving indicators, beginning with the largest positive contributor, were:
• Initial claims for unemployment insurance
• Industrial production, number of temporary employees
• Real manufacturing and trade sales
• Percentage of respondents who say they find jobs “hard to get”
The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.
The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:
• Percentage of respondents who say they find jobs “hard to get” (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey)
• Initial claims for unemployment insurance (U.S. Department of Labor)
• Percentage of firms with positions unfilled right now (National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation)
• Number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
• Ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers (BLS)
• Job openings (BLS)
• Industrial production (Federal Reserve Board)
• Real manufacturing and trade sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation report.
The technical notes to this series are included here.