The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) fell further in January. The index now stands at 96.6, down 1.0 percent from the December 2008 revised figure of 97.5, and down 18.6 percent from a year ago. "The Employment Trends Index has recently been declining faster than at any time since the 1974 recession," said Gad Levanon, senior economist at The Conference Board (New York), in a statement. "Such declines suggest considerable job losses will persist for several more months. It is becoming clearer that the continued worsening economic conditions are forcing many companies to make further downward adjustments to their workforce." The 18-month-long decline in the 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 aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area, according to The Conference Board. The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the ETI 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 not able to fill right now (National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation); 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).
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio