Last Friday’s unemployment report managed to come in much better than anticipated. Some even may have questioned whether the computers at the Labor Department were making proper calculations and tabulations again. A new report from The Conference Board called the Employment Trends Index is signaling that the Labor Department was accurate. It even signals moderate gains in employment ahead.
The Conference Board Employment Trends Index rose to 111.68 in April from an upwardly revised 111.61 in March. We would also point out that this reading is up 3.8 percent higher than a year ago.
April’s improvement in the Employment Trends Index was driven by positive contributions from five of the eight components that comprise this index. Those indicators rising were: Number of Temporary Employees, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Job Openings, Industrial Production, and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. The Conference Board aims to blend these indicators into a composite index to filter out monthly noise in the individual reports.
Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board, said:
Despite weak economic activity, the Employment Trends index is still signaling moderate job growth in the coming months. On average, employment has grown almost as fast as GDP over the past three years, and that is likely to continue into the third quarter of 2013. As a result, the average labor productivity of American workers will struggle to improve until GDP growth accelerates.
Markets remain mixed this Monday, as there is little direction and as the economic reporting is light. The S&P 500 is up 1.50 at almost 1,616, and the DJIA is down 17 points at 14,957. We also have the yield on the 10-year Treasury down 1 basis point at only 1.74%.