Help-Wanted Advertising Index Increases; Online Job Ads up 6%

The Conference Board Help-Wanted Advertising Index — a key measure of job offerings in major newspapers across America — increased one point in October. The Index currently stands at 30, compared to 37 one year ago. 

Although print advertising was generally flat, the rise in online ad volume increased modestly. Total online job ads increased by 198,300 (6%) to 3,831,100 in October, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series™.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in eight of the nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the East North Central (-15.4%), South Atlantic (-13.6%) and Mountain (-13.2%) regions. The West South Central region improved substantially (19.2%).

Says Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board: "The job market is responding to a cooling in the overall economic environment. This holiday season, deep discounts are being offered for many products, but this will cut into profit margins as labor cost increases edge up. That makes business attitudes no more bullish than consumer attitudes. Business plans have become cautious — on spending, on building inventory, and on hiring going forward."

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted print advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month. Because ad volume has proven to be sensitive to labor market conditions, this measure provides a gauge of change in the local, regional and national supply of jobs.

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