NEW YORK, March 7, 2022…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) rose in February and now stands at 119.18, up from 118.15 in January 2022 (an upward revision).
“The Employment Trends Index increased again in February, suggesting that robust job growth lies ahead,” said Frank Steemers, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “So far in 2022, more than 1 million jobs have been gained. However, some moderation in job growth is likely in the months ahead—we are now further into the recovery and economic growth rates are projected to decelerate compared to an especially strong 2021. Still, with the labor market being short 2.1 million jobs, returning to prepandemic employment levels is likely in 2022.”
Steemers added: “Hiring and retention continue to pose major challenges, which we don’t expect to dissipate in the foreseeable future. The unemployment rate has already dropped below 4 percent and is expected to approach 3 percent by the end of 2022. In such a tight labor market, wage growth will likely remain elevated. In particular, workers in in-person services, such as restaurants, personal care, and hotels, are now benefitting from a tight labor market.”
February’s increase in the Employment Trends Index was driven by positive contributions from seven of eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance; Industrial Production; Job Openings; Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales; Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry; Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; and Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now.
The Employment Trends Index is a leading composite index for employment. When the index increases, employment is likely to increase as well, and vice versa. Turning points in the index indicate that a turning point in the number of jobs is about to occur in the coming months. The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators of employment, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.