The Conference Board’s Help-Wanted Advertising Index – a key barometer of America’s job market – dipped one point in July to 37. The index was 38 one year ago.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in six of the nine U.S. regions. Declines occurred in the West North Central (-7.2 percent), South Atlantic (-6.1 percent), East North Central (-4.9 percent), East South Central (-4.1 percent), Middle Atlantic (-2.1 percent) and Pacific (-2 percent) regions. Increases occurred in the Mountain (6.1 percent), West South Central (1.9 percent) and New England (0.1 percent) regions.

“The latest data show essentially no change through July. Want-ad volume has not changed much over the past six months,” said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein. “Initial unemployment claims reached a plateau in March and have stayed fairly close to that level ever since. Overall economic momentum is no longer firing on all cylinders. And hiring intentions this summer are suggestive that companies may not increase hiring until the economy regains more solid footing.”

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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