Employment trends index up; first time in 16 months

New York, June 8, 2009 … The Conference Board Employment Trends Index saw a small uptick in May. The index now stands at 89.9, increasing 0.2 percent from the revised April figure of 89.7, and down 20 percent from a year ago.

“While it is too early to say that the ETI has bottomed, the moderation of the last two months is certainly a sign that the decline in job losses is real and signals that the worst is over,” said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “However, as the economic recovery over the coming months is likely to be very slow, we still expect the unemployment rate to continue to increase to double digits by the end of this year and into 2010.”

This month, the components of the Employment Trends Index showed a mixed picture. The improving indicators were the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Percentage of respondents who say they find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales and Job Openings.

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 so-called “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.