And now for some good news...Conference Board says its Employment Trends Index continues to improve

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI)™

Continues to Improve

New York, February 8, 2010…The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI)™ rose in January for the fifth consecutive month. The index now stands at 93.2, up 1 percent from December’s 92.3, but still down 0.7 percent compared to January 2009.

"The continued rise in the ETI makes us more optimistic that job growth will resume in the first quarter of 2010," said Gad Levanon, Associate Director, Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board. "The improvement is widespread across all eight components. In particular, Friday’s large decline in the number of involuntary part-time workers was the first time this component showed a strong signal of improvement."

January’s rise in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from six of its eight components: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get," Number of Temporary Employees, Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons, Job Openings, Industrial Production, and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called "noise" to show underlying trends more clearly.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find "Jobs Hard to Get" (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey®)

Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance (U.S. Department of Labor)

Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now (© National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation)

Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons (BLS)

Job Openings (BLS)

Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)

Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)

The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website.

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