More softening is seen in the labor market, according to the Conference Board’s employment trends index, which slid 1.0% to 96.6 in January from a downwardly revised 97.5 in December.

The December index was originally reported as 99.6. The index fell 18.6% in the past year, according to board.

“The employment trends index has recently been declining faster than at any time since the 1974 recession,” said Gad Levanon, the board’s senior economist. “Such declines suggest considerable job losses will persist for several more months. It is becoming clearer that the continued worsening economic conditions are forcing many companies to make further downward adjustments to their workforce.”

ETI has declined the past 18 months, and the weakness is seen in all eight of its components, most notably over the past six months in temporary-help hires and part-time workers for economic reasons, Levanon said. The ETI 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.

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