Bloomberg News

Employment Index in U.S. Declines by Most in a Year

July 09, 2012

Job prospects in the U.S. weakened in June by the most in more than a year, a sign the labor market will continue to struggle.

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index decreased 0.7 percent to 107.47, the first drop in three months and the biggest since April 2011, the New York-based private research group said today. The measure was up 5.6 percent from June 2011.

The report follows Labor Department data last week showing employers took on 80,000 workers in June, fewer than forecast and not enough to reduce a jobless rate that’s exceeded 8 percent for more than three years. Absent a jump in hiring that reinvigorates consumer spending, the U.S. economy may be more vulnerable to a global slowdown.

“Slow employment growth is likely to continue,” Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, said today in a statement. “Since there is little hope of acceleration in the pace of economic activity any time soon, these weak labor-market conditions are likely to persist for the coming months.”

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators to forecast short-term hiring trends. On average, it can signal a rebound in hiring as little as three months before the fact and can predict job declines six to nine months in advance, the Conference Board said.

Four of the index’s eight components deteriorated last month, led by a decrease in the number of companies unable to find qualified help, and more part-time workers who would rather be employed full-time. Projected gains in industrial production and sales limited the drop.

Jobless Rate

Payrolls climbed in June from a revised 77,000 gain in May that was larger than initially estimated, the Labor Department said on July 6. The unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent, while hours worked increased.

Private payrolls, which exclude government agencies, expanded by 84,000 employees, the least in 10 months, the report showed. The June figures crowned the weakest quarter for business hiring since the first three months of 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Kowalski in Washington at akowalski13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net


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