Industry News

Job market woes ‘intensified’ by gas prices, housing

Help-wanted ad index suggests hiring slowdown

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A key indicator that measures job offerings in major U.S. newspapers declined two points in July, the Conference Board reported today. The Help-Wanted Advertising Index now stands at 32; it was 39 one year ago. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in eight of the nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the West North Central (-21.5 percent), Middle Atlantic (-15.3 percent) and Mountain (-14.6 percent) regions. "While there is a tendency to blame gas prices and a cooling housing market for the softening trend in overall economic activity, that isn't the whole story," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at the Conference Board. "The economy was starting to lose some steam a year ago, before gas prices went through the roof and the housing market began cooling down, and even before the hurricanes and flooding. This was simply a matter of an economy running above average for an extended period and starting to moderate. The run-up in gas prices and the cooler...