The Conference Board on Thursday reported a slowdown in help-wanted advertising for the month of May, and recent labor market indicators suggest even more sluggishness this summer.
The organization’s Help-Wanted Advertising index — a key measure of job offerings in major U.S. newspapers — fell two points in May to 27, and is well below the 33 reading a year ago.
“The labor market is slow and might even slow a little further this summer,” Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “While the Leading Economic Indicators are pointing to sustained but slow growth in business activity, the latest readings on want-ad volume suggest that job gains (hovering close to about 120,000 per month) could edge a little lower, perhaps opening up only 100,000 new jobs a month.”
In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in six of the nine U.S. regions, with the largest declines occurring in the East South Central (-41.1 percent), Pacific (-22.7 percent) and West North Central (-19.3 percent) regions. Increases occurred in the West South Central (8 percent), New England (6.4 percent) and Middle Atlantic (2.3 percent) regions.
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.