"The Conference Board Employment Trends Index
(ETI) increased 0.73% in January to 105.81, from 105.04 in December (see chart above). The January figure is also up 5.9 percent from the same month a year ago.
“The Employment Trends Index has been improving rapidly for four straight months, suggesting somewhat more robust job growth is likely to continue in this quarter,” says Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board. “Beyond that we still remain cautious. We expect sluggish growth in economic activity in the first half of 2012 and therefore we do not foresee the strengthening of the labor market to be sustained in the second quarter of 2012.”
This month’s strength in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from four of the eight components. The improving indicators include Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry, 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 “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly."
MP: Some additional evidence that the U.S. labor market is showing some signs of strength in recent months, and will continue to improve at least through the first quarter of this year. January marks the 24th consecutive month of year-over-year gains in the ETI following 30 straight months of decline.