The Conference Board’s help-wanted advertising index, a key measure of job offerings in major U.S. newspapers, edged up to 39 in July. It was 38 in June.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising increased in five of the nine U.S. regions. Largest increases occurred in the East South Central (4.7 percent); Pacific (4.7 percent); and West North Central (2.7 percent) regions.

“The labor market indicators turned a little more positive this summer,” said Ken Goldstein, The Conference Board’s labor economist. “Print want-ad volume edged up in both June and July. Online volume was 10 percent higher in July than in April. Initial unemployment claims also moved down a little.

“However, the JOLTS data (Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey) show no change over the same period. Job openings were essentially unchanged through June. And the consumer appraisal of how hard it might be to find a new job was essentially at the same level in July as in May. That’s a mixed bag on forward indicators but with a little more positive direction in July than two or three months earlier.”

Online want-ad volume does not show a markedly different pattern. The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series shows that the number of new online job ads fell slightly to 1.97 million in July from just over 2 million in May and June. However, the latest figure is still almost 10 percent higher than the approximately 1.8 new online jobs posted in April.

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted print 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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