The Conference Board’s employment trends index held at 88.3 in July, unchanged from the revised figures for May and June, but down 20.1% from a year ago, the group announced yesterday.

“The employment trends index has been flat in the last three months,” said Gad Levanon, senior economist at the board. “This suggests that we are getting closer to the point when employers are no longer cutting their workforce. However, since we are expecting a weak economic recovery, and given the record number of involuntary part-time workers — many of whom are likely to move to full-time positions before new employees are hired — we do not expect significant job growth over the next year.”

Once again, in July, the components of the index showed a mixed picture, the board said. The improving indicators were initial claims for unemployment insurance, industrial production, part-time workers for economic reasons, and real manufacturing and trade sales.

The ETI aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area.

The eight indicators aggregated into the ETI are: percentage of respondents who say they find “jobs hard to get,” from the board’s consumer confidence survey; initial claims for unemployment insurance, from the Department of Labor; the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now from the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation; the number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; part-time workers for economic reasons, also from the BLS; job openings from the BLS; industrial production from the Federal Reserve Board; and real manufacturing and trade sales from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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