More softening is seen in the labor market, according to the Conference Board’s employment trends index, which slid 3.2% to 91.0 in February from a downwardly revised 94.0 in January.

The January index was originally reported as 96.6. The index fell 21.6% in the past year, according to board.

“Over the past year, the employment trends index has declined faster than at any other time in its 35-year history, with the most severe decreases taking place since the fall,” said Gad Levanon, senior economist at the board. “As job losses persist, the drop in overall earnings makes a rebound in consumer spending unlikely for the next few months. The decline in employment will only moderate once companies anticipate some revival in domestic and global economic activity.”

The ETI has declined the past 19 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 noted.

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