A key indicator that measures job offerings in major newspapers across America dipped two points in April, the Conference Board announced today.

The Help-Wanted Advertising Index now stands at 35, down from 37 in March.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the following regions: West South Central (-16 percent), South Atlantic (-12.9 percent) and East North Central (-8.9 percent).

“The latest data shows that job advertising softened in April, both in print and online. Total employment in April was only 1.7 percent higher than one year ago. At the start of this year, it was about 2 percent higher than a year ago,” said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board.

“Other forward indicators of economic activity suggest that job growth this summer may be closer to the current pace than to the pace at the start of the year,” Goldstein said. “The number of people signing up for unemployment checks was slowing at the start of the year. That wasn’t true in April. And the JOLTS data (Job Opening and Labor Turnover) remained relatively flat through March. In fact, it has been more flat than the trend in job advertising in print. If the labor market experiences some softening, it could be due to a slowing in pace in the overall economy. After all, the Leading Economic Index has decreased in two of the past four months.”

New online job ads dipped in April to 2.27 million, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series. The April level was 138,400, or 6 percent, below the previous month and followed a sharp rise in the February-March period. In April, there were 1.51 online job ads per 100 persons in the U.S. labor force, compared with 1.6 in March and 1.33 in February.

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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