The Conference Board on Thursday reported that its index measuring job offerings in major U.S. newspapers fell one point in July, marking the third straight month of declines.

The organization’s Help-Wanted Advertising Index now stands at 25, down from 26 in June and 31 a year ago. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising cooled in all nine U.S. regions, with the largest declines occurring in the West North Central (-17.4 percent), Mountain (-16.6 percent) and Pacific (-16.3 percent) regions.

“Despite housing problems, higher gas prices, higher grocery prices, even higher property taxes for some households, the consumer sector has been holding up all year because the labor market has held up,” Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “Job, but not wage, growth has slowed a little since the spring and it could slow a little more. That is the indication in the latest count in the number of print help-wanted ads.”

In July, there were 4.08 million online advertised vacancies, a largely seasonal decline of 196,200, or 4.6 percent, from the June level, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series. There were 2.65 advertised vacancies online for every 100 persons in the labor force in July.

“Online ad volume increases have also slowed a little this summer. In part, this reflects an economy that is slower in the third quarter than it was in the second,” Goldstein said. “Both the economy and the job market could be growing a little more slowly in the fourth quarter, but not slowing dramatically. And to date, the data show no suggestion that the economy is in danger of slipping into recession before the year is out.”

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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