US Employment Data Positive

US Employment Data Positive

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased in October, the sixth consecutive monthly increase since May. The index now stands at 97.57, up from 96.33 (revised) in September. However, the index is still down 11.1 percent from a year ago.

“While the Employment Trends Index increased in October, this month marks the smallest increase in the index since May,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “Strong employment gains in recent months brought the unemployment rate to 6.9 percent. But the number of new COVID-19 cases is rising and the pandemic’s relentlessness may potentially lead to governments enacting additional restrictions on mobility and slower consumer spending. As a result, The Conference Board expects job growth to slow in the coming months, leading to a slower decline in the unemployment rate.”

October’s increase was driven by positive contributions from six of the eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, the components were: the Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales; Industrial Production; the Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; and Job Openings.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index 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)
  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers (BLS)
  • Job Openings (BLS)**
  • Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)*
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)**

*Statistical imputation for the recent month
**Statistical imputation for two most recent months

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET, on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website:

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that delivers trusted insights for what’s ahead. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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