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The Conference Board's ETI Suggests Higher Unemployment Rate to Come

Press release from the issuing company

(August 04, 2008) The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index (ETI) continued a now year-long decline in July, suggesting even more softening to come in the labor market. The index fell in July to 112.1, down 0.9 percent from June's revised figure of 113.1, and down more than 7.5 percent from July 2007.

"This economy remains too weak to stem the monthly loss in jobs," said Gad Levanon, senior economist at The Conference Board. "Unless the labor market turns around soon, unemployment could pass 6 percent in early 2009 - and The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index isn't signaling any such improvement around the corner."

The year-long fall in the Employment Trends Index (ETI) is seen in all eight of its components, Levanon said, most notably over the past six months in temporary-help hires and part-time workers for economic reasons.

The Employment Trends Index (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 Employment Trends Index (ETI) are:

    •    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 One or More Jobs Open (National Federation of Independent Business)

    •    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)

    •    Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index (ETI) monthly, at 10 a.m. ET on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment situation report.