Conference Board: U.S. labor market improving despite poor jobs data

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The U.S. labor market is showing signs of improvement, according to a report from a research firm that compiles employment indicators released Monday.

The Conference Board’s employment trends index for January rose to 116.61 from a revised 115.62 in the preceding month, initially estimated at 115.76. Compared from a year ago, the latest index is 6.0 percent higher.

Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, said that despite the weak job reports for December and January, the board’s own index does not suggest a slowdown in the pace of employment growth.

For the second straight month, the U.S. government employment report showed a significant drop in jobs added to the economy. Last year, the economy added an average of 194,000 positions each month. A total of 75,000 additional jobs were added in December and 113,000 in January, both figures were way short of the full-year average and economists’ estimates.

The Conference Board said the increase in the index is helped by the positive contributions from six of the eight component indexes making up trends index. The biggest contribution came from jobless claims and the ratio of involuntary part-time to all part-time workers.

The employment trends index is also influenced by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation.

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