ETI suggests larger job losses to follow

Oct. 6, 2008 -- The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) continued its decline in September, suggesting even more losses to come in the labor market. The index fell in September to 108.4, down 0.8 percent from the August revised figure of 109.3, and down almost 10 percent from a year ago.

“The deterioration in the Employment Trends Index has become very pronounced, suggesting that the unemployment rate may very well exceed 7 percent as early as the second quarter of 2009,” said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “The persistent slackening in labor market conditions, worsened by the financial crisis, has reached a level that in the past led to significantly slower wage growth across most industries.”

The 14-month fall in the Employment Trends Index (ETI) is seen in all eight of its components, most notably over the past six months in temporary-help hires and part-time workers for economic reasons.

The Employment Trends Index (ETI) aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index (ETI):

  • 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 One or More Jobs Open (National Federation of Independent Business)
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Part-time Workers for Economic Reasons (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 (ETI) monthly, at 10:00 AM ET on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: www.conference-board.org/economics/employment.cfm.

Source: The Conference Board Employment Trends Index

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