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Employment Reports Indicate a Brightening Jobs Picture

Latest News > Industry News

December 7-- The U.S. employment picture is showing new signs of stabilizing after nearly two years of steep job losses, according to the most recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and The Conference Board.

The Employment Trend Index (ETI) increased for the fourth consecutive month in November, The Conference Board reported today.

  • The index hit 90.8, up slightly from the revised October figure, but down 9.4% from one year ago.

  • On Friday, the BLS reported that the unemployment rate edged down to 10% in November. Nonfarm payroll employment remained essential unchanged for the month, with only 11,000 lost.

  • In contrast, payroll jobs loses had averaged 135,000 a month in the preceding three months.

  • In November, employment fell in construction, manufacturing and information, while temporary help services, and health care added jobs.

  • Both the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate declined in November. There were some 15.4 million persons unemployed, for a rate of 10%.

  • In December 2007, at the start of the recession, there were some 7.5 million unemployed persons, and the unemployment rate was 4.9%.

"The very small number of job losses in November was to be expected given the increase in the Employment Trends Index in recent months, and this month’s large increase in the ETI suggests that job gains are imminent," said Gad Levanon, associate director, macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. "However, the pace of hiring is likely to remain subdued because the economic recovery is expected to be weak throughout the first half of 2010."

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 so-called "noise" to show underlying trends more clearly.

Last month, five of the eight indicators made positive contributions to the index, The Conference Board said. Initial claims for unemployment insurance, the number of temporary workers, job openings, industrial production, real manufacturing and trade sales all improved.

Read the full BLS report here.

Read the complete news release from The Conference Board here.