The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index (ETI) climbed to 109.02 in December from an upwardly revised 108.19 in November, originally reported as 107.82, and is up 3.1% from a year ago, the group announced Monday.

"After posting a significant increase in December, following an upward revision in November, the Employment Trends Index is improving," said Gad Levanon, Associate Director, Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board. "However, if economic activity continues to expand slowly in the first half of 2013, it would be difficult for employers to maintain the current rate of job growth."

The increase in ETI was driven by a positive contributions from initial claims for unemployment insurance, percentage of respondents who say they find "jobs hard to get," ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers, and industrial production, according to the Conference Board.

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.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the ETI 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); and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis).

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