Industry News

Businesses ‘cautious’ about economy, hiring

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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 spend...