The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) rose in February for the sixth consecutive month. The index now stands at 93.5, up from January's 93.2. During the past six months, the index increased by 13.4 percent (annual rate), the highest six-month growth rate since 1994.
"The continued rise in the ETI suggests that job growth is about to begin," said Gad Levanon, Associate Director, Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board. "The past two jobless recoveries in 1991 and 2002 were a result of a continuous decline in manufacturing employment. This time, the strong recovery in manufacturing production has already led to two consecutive monthly increases in manufacturing employment. We are likely to see this trend continue over the next several months, which will contribute to overall job growth."
This month's increase in the Employment Trends Index was driven by positive contributions from four out of the eight components. The improving indicators were: Number of Temporary Employees, Job Openings, Industrial Production, and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.
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 so-called "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)