The Conference Board’s Help-Wanted Advertising Index – a key barometer of America’s job market – declined one point in April to 38, down from 39 the previous month. The Index was 37 one year ago.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising increased in five of the nine U.S. regions. The largest increases occurred in the Mountain (12.6 percent) and South Atlantic (11.1 percent) regions. The decreases in the other four regions were modest, with the exception of the East South Central region, which declined 19.4 percent in the last three months.

“No one expects the economy to continue delivering over a half million new jobs every two months. The data on want-ad volume suggests the pace of hiring will moderate,” said Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein. “Nevertheless, a return to a jobless expansion is not in the cards. The big change in the labor market has been more jobs opening up while fewer jobs are lost. The only change in these conditions is probably to a moderate but sustainable pace of job openings this summer. The loss of one point in the index in each of the past two months is not consistent with any significant drop in labor market activity just around the corner.”

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted 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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