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The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased in December for the third consecutive month, closing the last quarter of 2010 on a positive note. The index now stands at 99.3, up from November's revised figure of 98.5. The index is up 7.6 percent from a year ago.
Says Gad Levanon, associate director for macroeconomic research at The Conference Board: "The improvement in the Employment Trends Index in recent months suggests employment growth is likely to accelerate moderately in the first half of 2011. While this is a welcome improvement, we don't expect employment to grow fast enough for the unemployment rate to dip below 9 percent for the rest of the year."
This month's increase in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from five out of the eight components. The improving indicators included Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Number of Temporary Employees, 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: