The Conference Board help-wanted advertising index, a key measure of job offerings in major newspapers across America, dropped to 35 in August. It was 39 in July.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in seven of the nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the West South Central (-19.4 percent) and West North Central (-10.8 percent) regions.

“Key market indicators gave ground just before the storms and flooding. While print want-ad volume rose a bit in June and July, it sagged to May levels in August,” said Ken Goldstein, The Conference Board’s labor economist.

“Consumers’ concerns about finding a new job were also essentially the same in August as in May, but declined noticeably in September, after the hurricanes and flooding,” Goldstein said. “Latest readings show that job growth has been downsized significantly. Before the storms, there was a chance for 150,000 to 175,000 jobs per month over the near term. However, prospects may now be reduced by as much as half of that.”

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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