The Conference Board today reported that its Help-Wanted Advertising index – a key barometer of America’s job market – held steady at 37 in August.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the New England (-10.4 percent), Pacific (-8.9 percent), West North Central (-8.4 percent) and East North Central (-7.5 percent) regions.

“The labor market remains flat and it is beginning to sap consumer confidence. The coincident economic indicator (a measure of where the economy is right now) edged higher in July and August, suggesting an economy that is growing but not fast enough to create significant numbers of new jobs,” said Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein. “Meanwhile, the leading economic index fell in August for the third straight month, indicating a loss of economic momentum going forward. With economic questions being raised about consumption and exports, plus cost considerations (beyond the elevated price of oil), business executives have turned cautious about hiring, as reflected by the flat trend in want-ad volume.”

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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