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posted on 06 June 2016

May 2016 Conference Board Employment Index Six-Month Growth Rate Now in Negative Territory

Written by Steven Hansen

The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index - which forecasts employment for the next 6 months declined and its authors state " its recent decline is not nearly as large as those that have preceded past employment contractions."

Econintersect is forecasting a lower jobs growth rate six months from now. Note that the Econintersect Employment Index is not based on employment data.

From the Conference Board:

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) decreased in May, after rebounding in April. The index now stands at 126.81, down from an upwardly revised 128.53 in April. The change represents a modest 0.7 percent gain in the ETI compared to a year ago.

"The Employment Trends Index decreased in May. Its continued weakness suggests that job growth will remain modest in the coming months," said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. "Despite softening in the ETI, its recent decline is not nearly as large as those that have preceded past employment contractions."

May's decrease in the ETI was fueled by negative contributions from six out of eight components. In order from the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, 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, and Job Openings.

z%20conference%20board%20employ.png

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 Employment 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 the Conference Board is currently projecting a declining growth rate and the Econintersect index is also showing a declining rate of growth.

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.



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