Employment Trends Index Looks Marginally More Positive Than Labor Department’s Payrolls Report

November 7, 2016 by Jon C. Ogg

Each month’s U.S. Department of Labor report on unemployment and nonfarm payrolls is one of the most widely watched reports of them all. What matters after the fact is how the follow-on reports look for the overall employment situation.

The Conference Board has released its Employment Trends Index, and this may show a┬ámarginally better or more favorable read than the Labor Department’s read last week. The index increased again in October, after rising in September, up to 128.97 in October. September’s reading was 128.29 after a downward revision.

The Conference Board showed that this reading was also a 1.0% gain compared to a year ago.

Last Friday’s Department of Labor report showed that nonfarm payrolls rose by 161,000 and unemployment came in at 4.9%. Bloomberg was calling for 178,000 in nonfarm payrolls. The Labor Department also showed that private sector payrolls rose by only 142,000 in October, less than the Bloomberg consensus of 170,000.

October’s improvement was said to be fueled by positive contributions from seven of the eight components. In order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were as follows:

  • Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now
  • Industrial Production
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry
  • Job Openings
  • Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales
  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-Time to All Part-Time Workers

Gad Levanon, who is the chief economist of North America at the Conference Board, said:

The Employment Trends Index increased moderately in recent months, suggesting solid job growth will continue through early 2017. The moderation in the ETI’s pace of growth in recent months is typical, given the maturing of the labor market, and does not signal a significant slowdown in job growth.