News Brief

Help-Wanted Index Increases One Point

The Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index -- a barometer of America's job market -- increased one point in December. The Index now stands at 46, up from a reading of 45 in November. The Index was 78 one year ago. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine US regions. Steepest declines occurred in the East North Central (-19.7%), Middle Atlantic (-17.3%) and Mountain (-14.0%) regions. Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein said, "If the economy is starting to turn a corner, the labor market, always a trailing phenomenon, could follow in short order. Help-wanted advertising rose, albeit modestly, in December -- the first increase all year. Over the past 12 months, most of the country has witnessed a decline in want-ad volume of between 40 and 50%, bringing the index to its lowest level in almost four decades. One month does not make a trend but that pace of decline is moderating, and possibly even drawing to a close."
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