A key indicator that measures job offerings in major newspapers nationwide dropped two points in May, following a two-point drop in April, the Conference Board reported today.

The Help-Wanted Advertising Index now stands at 33, down from 35 in April and 38 one year ago.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the West South Central (-19.5 percent), West North Central (-17.9 percent) and Pacific (-17.3 percent) regions.

“Businesses remain cautious about hiring when near-term economic prospects appear soft. They remain fundamentally worried about the expense of new hiring (in terms of wages, as well as health and pension benefits) relative to pricing power,” said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. “With some evidence that retail inflation may be picking up, that concern may be alleviated. But consumers worry about price hikes outstripping their wage gains, and may limit their spending increases. Since the consumer represents two-thirds of the economy, that would fit in with the signal from The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index. This is certainly a more negative picture going into the second half of the year, compared to the beginning of the year.”

In the Conference Board’s Help-Wanted OnLine Data series, the number of new ads for online jobs in May increased slightly to 2.35 million. The May increase of 91,800 new ads was up 4 percent from April. In May, there were 1.57 online job ads per 100 persons in the U.S. labor force, compared with 1.51 in April 2006 and 1.6 in March.

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.


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription