March ETI suggests robust job growth ahead

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The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index (ETI) rose to 107.72 in March from a downwardly revised 107.31 in February, first reported as 107.74, and is up 5.5% 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 ETI continued its upward trend in March, suggesting that job growth will remain robust in the coming months," said Gad Levanon, chief economist, North America, at The Conference Board. "We interpret Friday’s disappointing job numbers as noise in an otherwise fast-growing labor market."

The increasing indicators — from the largest contributor to the smallest — were: ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers, industrial production, percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now, percentage of respondents who say they find “jobs hard to get,” and real manufacturing and trade sales, 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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Economic indicators