Conference Board: Economy Could Lose 2 Million Jobs

According to the group's Employment Trends Index, total nonfarm employment fell by more than 2.5 million in 2008, with another 2 million in job losses possible in 2009.

NEW YORK -- The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) fell to 99.6 in December, down 1.6 percent from November and down nearly 16 percent from last year.

"During 2008, total nonfarm employment declined by more than 2.5 million and the sharp declines in the Employment Trends Index suggest that in 2009 this number could grow by another 2 million," said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. "The continued deterioration in the Employment Trends Index signals that no turnaround in the labor market is to be expected in the near future."

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, including:

--the percentage of respondents who say they find "Jobs Hard to Get" (from The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey)

--initial claims for unemployment insurance (from the U.S. Department of Labor)

--the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now (from the National Federation of Independent Business)

--number of employees hired by the Temporary-Help Industry (from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

--part-time workers for economic reasons (from the BLS)

--job openings (from the BLS)

--industrial production (from the Federal Reserve Board)

--real manufacturing and trade sales (from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

For more information on the Employment Trends Index, visit http://www.conference-board.org/economics/employment.cfm

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