ETI continues gaining as six-month growth surges

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The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index (ETI) rose to 107.74 in February from a downwardly revised 106.50 in January, first reported as 106.93, and is up 5.6% from a year ago, the group announced Monday.

The base year of the composite index was recently changed to 2016=100 from 2010=100.

"The Employment Trends Index accelerated further in February, suggesting that strong job growth is likely to continue in the coming months," said Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. "The six-month growth rate of the index is the highest since 2014. The stable unemployment rate in recent months is a statistical illusion. The labor market is tightening and with such strong job growth, further declines in the unemployment rate is all but guaranteed."

The increasing indicators — from the largest contributor to the smallest — were: percentage of respondents who say they find “jobs hard to get,” industrial production, initial claims for unemployment insurance, real manufacturing and trade sales, number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry, and job openings, 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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