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The Conference Board Employment Trends Index(TM) (ETI) Increased in March
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Index Signals Job Growth to Continue in Q2 2024

NEW YORK, April 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Conference Board Employment Trends Index(TM) (ETI) increased in March to 112.84, up from a downwardly revised 111.85 in February. The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. When the Index increases, employment is likely to grow as well, and vice versa. Turning points in the Index indicate that a change in the trend of job gains or losses is about to occur in the coming months.

"The ETI increased slightly in March, signaling employment will continue to grow in Q2 of 2024," said Will Baltrus, Associate Economist at The Conference Board. "Although the ETI has been on a downward trajectory since its peak in March 2022, this trend has decelerated since August 2023, with monthly oscillations between modest increases and modest decreases. However, the Index remains above its prepandemic level and is still consistent with continued employment growth."

Baltrus added: "For the moment, employment will likely continue to grow or at worst flatten. According to The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence(TM), most US CEOs said they are expecting to grow or maintain their existing workforce, while only 21% expect to lay off employees in 2024. And while two-thirds of March's payroll additions were in the three sectors seeing acute labor shortages (healthcare and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, and government), job gains broadened for the fourth straight month, with increases in construction, other services, and retail trade. These continued payroll gains outside of the major labor shortage-threatened industries point towards a resilient overall labor market. In addition, the number of temporary employees--a component of ETI and a strong leading indicator for employment--was little changed in March, suggesting few-to-no layoffs in the near term. Demand for labor remains strong, as consumers saying jobs were 'hard to get' in our Consumer Confidence Survey®--another component of ETI--decreased in March, following a downward revision in February 2024. Looking ahead, we continue to project slower real GDP growth in Q2 and Q3, which may spill over into decreases in hiring. But this pressure will be limited by labor supply factors like an aging workforce in some sectors, and coincident labor shortages in others."

March's increase in the Employment Trends Index was driven by positive contributions from five of its eight components: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get", Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, Industrial Production, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, and Job Openings.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, 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 leading indicators of employment 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)
    --  Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers (BLS)
    --  Job Openings (BLS)*
    --  Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)*
    --  Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)**

*Statistical imputation for the recent month
**Statistical imputation for two most recent months

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET, on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website:

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what's ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

              Employment Trends Index (ETI)(TM) 2024 Publication Schedule

              Index Release Date (10 AM ET)                                            Data for the Month

      Monday, January 8, 2024                                                 December 2023

      Monday, February 5                                                      January 2024

      Monday, March 11                                                      

      Monday, April 8                                                       

      Monday, May 6                                                         

      Monday, June 10                                                       

      Monday, July 8                                                        

      Monday, August 5                                                      

      Monday, September 9                                                   

      Monday, October 7                                                     

      Monday, November 4                                                    

      Monday, December 9                                                    

        (C) The Conference Board 
              . All data contained in this table are protected by United States and international copyright laws. The data displayed are provided for informational purposes only and may only be accessed, reviewed, and/or used in accordance with, and the permission of, The Conference
         Board consistent with a subscriber or license agreement and the Terms of Use displayed on our website at The data and analysis contained herein may not be used, redistributed, published, or posted by any means without express written permission from The Conference Board.


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