The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) decreased in August for the second time in the past four months. The index now stands at 96.7, down from July's revised figure of 97.4. The index is up 9.4 percent from a year ago.

"Employment growth has been slow lately, and the Employment Trends Index suggests that it may slow even further this fall," said Gad Levanon, associate director for macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. "However, we still expect job growth rather than an outright decline in the next several months."

This month's decline in the Employment Trends Index was driven by negative contributions from seven out of the eight components. The weakening indicators included Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get", Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons, Job Openings, Industrial Production and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. It is the first time since March 2009 that seven components contributed negatively to the overall index.

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)