The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased in October, after a slight decline in September, it was announced on November 8. The index now stands at 98.1, up from September's revised figure of 97.3. The index is up over 10 percent from a year ago.

Says Gad Levanon, associate director for macroeconomic research at The Conference Board: "The improvement in the ETI in October suggests that negative job growth in the next quarter or two is very unlikely. However, we forecast sluggish economic activity until mid 2011, at the earliest. Employment growth will likely remain weak in 2011."

This month's increase in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from six out of the eight components. The improving indicators included Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Number of Temporary Employees, Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons, Job Openings, 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)