The Conference Board Help-Wanted Advertising Index, a measure of job offerings in major newspapers across the US, dipped one point in February and stands at 21, down nine points from a year earlier, the Conference Board reported.
In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in seven of the nine US regions:
- Steepest declines occurred in the East South Central (-12.5%), Pacific (-11.0%) and New England (-9.3%) regions.
- There were slight increases in the West South Central (3.5%) and West North Central (1.4%) regions.
“More regions of the country are experiencing economic distress and the impact is now evident in the labor markets – the result of constant, unrelenting pressure from multiple sources, said Ken Goldstein, Labor Economist at The Conference Board.
The latest seasonally adjusted results:
“There’s been very little profit growth, and virtually no job growth in the past three months. Businesses are cautious about investing and hiring. The lack of job growth sours consumer attitudes and spending plans. The lack of spending causes businesses to retrench. This is the downward spiral we are on,” Goldstein said.
“How much further down? For how much longer? The latest data available are reflective of conditions unlikely to turn more positive even by late summer, possibly not even until the end of the year. Expect a slow burn.”
About the index: The Conference Board surveys help-wanted print advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month. Because ad volume has proven to be sensitive to labor market conditions, this measure provides a gauge of change in the local, regional and national supply of jobs.