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Employment trends index falls in September but remains on ‘solid upward trend’

October 08, 2018

The Conference Board’s US Employment Trends Index fell in September from August but rose 6.7% year over year. The index in September fell a reading of 110.77 from the upwardly revised reading of 111.18 in August.

“Despite this month’s decline — the result of just two components — the index remains on a solid upward trend, and has been growing rapidly in recent months,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “The US economy is very strong now. Demand for workers is likely to continue growing rapidly in the coming quarters, but with the unemployment rate now at 3.7%, recruiters have their work cut out for them.”

Recruiters will have to bring more people off the sidelines faster, according to Levanon.

“In the meantime, businesses will have to squeeze more out of their current workers, either by increasing working hours or raising labor productivity,” he said. “Labor market tightness varies across occupations and geographies. However, for the nation we expect the unemployment rate to go down to 3.5% or even lower in 2019. We also expect labor force participation and productivity to gradually increase, and wages to further accelerate.”

The Employment Trends Index is released on the Monday following the release of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment situation report. Last Friday’s report found the number of temp help services jobs in the US rose by 2.9% year over year in September. The number of employees hired by the temporary help industry is one of the eight measures tracked in The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index.

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