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Employment trends index rebounds in February, but job growth likely to slow

March 11 2019

The Conference Board’s US Employment Trends Index increased in February following a decline in January. The index rose to a reading of 111.15 in February from a downwardly revised reading of 109.34 in January.

However, the year-over-year change remains positive at 4.3%.

“The Employment Trends Index bounced back in February,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “Last month’s reading had been negatively influenced by the partial government shutdown. In recent months, the index is no longer on an upward trend, suggesting that job growth will slow down in 2019.”

The Employment Trends Index is released on the Monday following the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment situation report.

Levanon said the meager gain of 20,000 job in February, reported Friday in the employment situation report, was an aberration. “We still expect employment to grow fast enough for the labor market to tighten further in 2019, making it easier for job seekers to find a job,” he said. “One of the ETI components, the percent of respondents who say they find ‘Jobs Hard to Get’ from The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey, is now at the lowest rate since 2000.”

The employment situation report found the number of temp help services jobs in the US rose by 2.4% year over year in February. The number of employees hired by the temporary help industry is one of eight measures tracked in The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index.

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