The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) rose in March for the seventh consecutive month, it was announced on April 5. The index now stands at 94.4, up from February's revised figure of 93.7. The index is up 5.5 percent from a year ago. Over the past three months, all of the index's eight components have been improving.

"The solid rise in the ETI and the widespread improvement across its components suggest that the March increase in employment was not a fluke and the economy is likely to continue to add jobs in the coming months," said Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. "However, we do not expect job growth to significantly accelerate in the short term, as both consumption and investment growth are likely to remain relatively weak."

This month's increase in the Employment Trends Index was driven by positive contributions from five out of the eight components. The improving indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get," Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Number of Temporary Employees, Industrial Production and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called "noise" to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

  • Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get" (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey)
  • Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance (U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now (National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation)
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons (BLS)
  • Job Openings (BLS)
  • Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board Web site: www.conference-board.org/economics/employment.cfm