Some 1.98 million new online job ads were posted in February, down by 175,000, or 8.1 percent, from January, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series. Adjusting the number of ads for the size of the labor force, there were 1.33 online job ads per 100 persons in the U.S. labor force in February and 1.44 in January 2006. This was similar to August 2005 (1.43) and July 2005 (1.32). "The labor market picture remains a bit cloudy," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist with The Conference Board. "There are some bright spots where the job market may be picking up, but it's by no means a clear picture. Based on the online activity and other labor-market indicators, it is hard to say that the job market is heating up. Consumers are growing increasingly concerned about the short-term health of the economy and their job prospects. In February, consumers' expectations for the economy and the job market over the next six months were down significantly, according to The Confe...
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