A key economic indicator measuring the volume of job ads in major U.S. newspapers dipped one point in January, erasing hope that labor markets will improve anytime soon, The Conference Board reported today.

The Conference Board’s Help-Wanted Advertising Index fell to 21 last month from 22 in December, as just 41 percent of labor markets surveyed in January reported rising want-ad volume, down from 59 percent in December.

“The best thing about 2008 is that it will end next winter,” Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “Many economists debate whether we’re in a recession or on the verge of one. What’s more important is that people are behaving as if a recession is already here. Consumer confidence fell sharply this month. Consumers fear that costs for food, energy and housing will continue to rise faster than incomes, squeezing household budgets, which will cause a pullback in spending. The weakness in the labor market reinforces these sentiments.

“The latest data on job advertising in print suggests there’s virtually no chance that labor market activity will improve over the next few months,” Goldstein said. “To the contrary, there is a chance the labor market could grind to a halt.”

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising shrank in five of the nine U.S. regions, with the steepest declines occurring in the East South Central (-16.3 percent), Pacific (-12.2 percent) and South Atlantic (-5.3 percent) regions.

Based on monthly help-wanted, print-advertising volume in 51 U.S. newspapers, and because ad volume has proven to be sensitive to labor market conditions, the Help-Wanted Advertising Index provides a gauge of change in the local, regional and national supply of jobs.

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