January 2019 Conference Board Employment Index Decreased

The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index - which forecasts employment for the next 6 months declined with the author's saying:

"Due to the government shutdown, some of the components in this month's Employment Trends Index release were unavailable or biased. Therefore, we encourage users to take this month's decline with some caution".

Analyst Opinion of Conference Board's Employment Index

Econintersect evaluates year-over-year change of this index (which is different than the headline view) - as we do with our own employment index. The year-over-year index growth rate decelerated 1.5 % month-over-month and grew 3.4 % year-over-year. The Econintersect employment index improved.

Note that Econintersect's employment index was not affected by the government shutdown.

From the Conference Board:

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) decreased in January, following an increase in December. The index now stands at 109.56, down from 110.96 (a downward revision) in December. The decrease marks a 3.4 percent gain in the ETI over the past 12 months.

"Due to the government shutdown, some of the components in this month's Employment Trends Index release were unavailable or biased. Therefore, we encourage users to take this month's decline with some caution," said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. "However, we can still conclude that the index has experienced some softening since the summer, suggesting that job growth will slow down in 2019. Overall economic activity rapidly grew through the end of 2018, suggesting that employment growth will remain solid in early 2019, but as the economy slows down, job growth will also slow down later in the year. A slowdown in job growth is not unexpected in an economy that has expanded for this long and reached such a low unemployment rate."

January's decrease was fueled by negative contributions from seven of the eight components. From the largest negative contributor to the smallest, these were: the Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get," Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Job Openings, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, and Industrial Production.

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