Conference Board's Help-Wanted Index Jumps
In the last three months, help-wanted advertising increased in seven out of nine U.S. regions. Largest increases occurred in the East North Central (46.9%) and Mountain (33.9%) regions. Declines occurred in the West North Central (-2.8%) and Middle Atlantic (-1.2%) regions.
Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein says, “Want-ad volume is almost back to the level of last September. But want-ad volume is still at its lowest level in four decades. It appears that a bottom was reached late in 2001 and the slow process of recovering ad volume is underway.
”Even if there is an early turn in the labor market, hiring is likely to be minimal through the spring and perhaps the early summer. Unemployment could reach 6 percent this summer before starting to come down.”
The Conference Board surveys help-wanted 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.