More softening is seen in the labor market, according to the Conference Board’s employment trends index, which slid 0.7% to 89.5 in April from an unrevised 90.1 in March.

The index fell 22.0% in the past year, according to the board.

“The outlook for employment is much less negative than in prior months, but still it is not likely that employment growth will resume before the final quarter of the year,” said Gad Levanon, the board’s senior economist. “In April, the employment trends index recorded its smallest decline since June 2008, and three of its eight components actually showed an improvement.”

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