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Conference Board: Rising Unemployment To Continue

Continued decline in the Employment Trends Index suggests softening in the labor market, with job losses and rising unemployment continuing well into 2009.

NEW YORK -- The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index (ETI) continued to decline in August, suggesting continued softening to come in the labor market. The index fell to 110.8, down 0.5 percent from July and down over 8 percent from a year ago.

"The Employment Trends Index continues to rapidly deteriorate, suggesting there is little likelihood of a turnaround in the job market anytime soon," said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. "In fact, the pace of decline points toward job losses and rising unemployment extending well into 2009. Leading indicators of employment are deteriorating throughout most of the U.S., with the West South Central region (including Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas) faring better than other regions."

The ETI aggregates eight labor market indicators, including:

  • Percentage of respondents who say they find "Jobs Hard to Get" (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)

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