Industry News

Good inflation news bad for business

Hiring plans 'on the slow burner,' economist says

Although the Conference Board Help-Wanted Advertising Index, a key measure of job offerings in major newspapers across America, rose one point in February to 39, it was still down from 41 one year ago, indicating the negative effect that low inflation has on the labor market. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising increased in eight of the nine U.S. regions. Largest increases occurred in the West South Central (5.3 percent), West North Central (4.5 percent) and South Atlantic (4 percent) regions. The only decline occurred in the East South Central (-6.1 percent) region. "Business is increasingly concerned about the impact of new hiring (in terms of wages, as well as health and pension benefits) in relation to corporate pricing power," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. "The good news on the inflation front is actually a negative for business. It elevates the concern about rising costs, not offset by rising prices. That keeps hiring p...

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