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posted on 09 March 2015

February 2015 Conference Board Employment Index Grew But The Rate of Growth Slowed Marginally

Written by Steven Hansen

The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index - which forecasts employment for the next 6 months - again strengthened. The index has been growing for over one year - but the rate of increase slowed from the previous months..

The Conference Board believes future good employment growth will likely continue in the coming months - and Econintersect concurs that relatively good employment growth will continue.

From the Conference Board:

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased in February. The index now stands at 127.76, up from 127.62 (a downward revision) in January. This represents a 6.7 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

"The Employment Trends Index increased for the 14th consecutive time, the longest positive stretch in 30 years," said Gad Levanon, Managing Director of Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research at The Conference Board. "Strong job growth and the rapid decline in the unemployment rate are likely to continue, and acceleration in wage growth is just a matter of time."

February's increase in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from five of the eight components. In order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Percentage of Firms with Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Industrial Production, and Job Openings.

To add context to this index, the following graph compares BLS non-farm payrolls, the Econintersect Employment Index, and The Conference Board ETI. Econintersect uses non-labor and mostly non-monetary economic pulse points in constructing its index, while The Conference Board uses mostly elements of employment data.

Comparing BLS Non-Farm .mployment YoY Improvement (blue line, left axis) with Econintersect Employment Index YoY Improvement (red line, left axis) and The Conference Board ETI YoY Improvement (yellow line, right axis)

employment_indices.png

The graph above offsets the Conference Board ETI by 5 months. Note that both the Conference Board and the Econintersect indices are showing an improving long term trend - however the Conference Board ETI trend line is slowing whilst the Econintersect trend line is not.

Caveats on the Employment Trends Index

According to the Conference Board:

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)
  • 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)

Unfortunately many of these indices are not accurate in real time being subject to at times significant backward revision.

Related Posts:

Old Analysis Blog

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