The Conference Board’s employment trends index rose 1.0% to 93.2 in January from a revised 2.5% jump to 92.3 in December, originally reported as a 1.7% increase to 91.8, and is down 0.7% from a year ago, the group said yesterday.

“The continued rise in the ETI makes us more optimistic that job growth will resume in the first quarter of 2010,” said Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at the board. “The improvement is widespread across all eight components. “In particular, Friday’s large decline in the number of involuntary part-time workers was the first time this component showed a strong signal of improvement.”

The ETI aggregates eight labor-market indicators that have proven accurate in its own area, according to the Conference Board. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

January’s rise in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from six of its eight components: percentage of respondents who say they find “jobs hard to get,” number of temporary employees, part-time workers for economic reasons, job openings, industrial production, and real manufacturing and trade sales, the board said in a release.

Two other labor market indicators aggregated into the ETI are the initial claims for unemployment insurance, and the percentage of firms with positions that they are not able to fill right now, the latter of which is compiled by the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation.

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