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Most Intense Job Losses Behind Us, Says Conference Board

April 7, 2009

NEW YORK — The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) fell again in March. The index now stands at 90.1, decreasing 2.3 percent from the February revised figure of 92.2, and down 22.1 percent from a year ago.

“While we see a continued sharp fall in the ETI, the decline was not as strong as in the previous four months, suggesting that the most intense stage of job losses may be behind us,” said Gad Levanon, senior economist at The Conference Board. “However, the drops in each of the eight components of the ETI in March signal that many more jobs will disappear over the next several months.”

The 20-month-long decline in the ETI is seen in all eight of its components, most notably over the past six months in temporary-help hires and part-time workers for economic reasons.

The ETI aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the ETI 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 (BLS))

· 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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