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Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index Fell in September

An index that measures U.S. employment trends decreased in September for the first time in seven months, signaling that the recovery of the labor market from the pandemic-induced shock could be bumpy in the months ahead.

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index fell slightly to 110.35 in September from a revised 110.68 in August, according to data released Monday.

The release of the index follows Friday’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed the U.S. labor market added 194,000 jobs in September, the slowest pace of the year. The data suggested that the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant and the persistent shortage of workers weighed on the recovery.

“It may be a few months before the pace of job growth regains the momentum of earlier this year,” said Gad Levanon, head of the Conference Board Labor Markets Institute.

The summer surge in Covid-19 cases has prompted a slower pace of job creation as spending on in-person services was reduced, Mr. Levanon said. “We expect more risk-averse consumers to continue to spend less on in-person services than they did pre-pandemic,” he said.

Recruiting difficulties remained historically high in September, and it is likely that severe shortages will continue affecting the U.S. economy in the months ahead, Mr. Levanon said.

The fall of the headline index in September was driven by negative contributions from two of the eight components, which were the percentage of respondents who say they find jobs hard to get and the number of temporary employees.

The other six components, from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, were initial claims for unemployment insurance, industrial production, job openings, real manufacturing and trade sales, percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now and the ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers.
Source: Dow Jones

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