The Conference Board Employment Trends Index Declined Slightly in December

Staff Report

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index declined slightly in the final month of 2016, after increasing in November. The index now stands at 129.62, down from 129.93 in November. The change represents a 2.2 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

"After strong growth over the previous three months, the Employment Trends Index declined slightly in the final month of 2016. However, the ETI's trend suggests that job growth will remain solid in early 2017," said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. "And, employers have become more upbeat in recent months, suggesting the labor market may very well tighten faster than pre-recession expectations."

December's decline in the ETI was fueled by negative contributions from five of the eight components. In order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get," Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, 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 "noise" to show underlying trends more clearly.

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

  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers (BLS)

  • Job Openings (BLS)**

  • Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)*

  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)**

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