According to the Conference Board, the index now stands at 35, down from 38 in March and significantly lower than the 47 mark from a year ago. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine regions of the US The sharpest drops occurred in the East South Central (-32.0), Middle Atlantic (-18.4), Pacific (-16.4%) and New England (-15.7%) areas.
“April may represent a low point for the ailing labor market,” Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein said in a statement. “After initial unemployment claims revealed a big rise in layoffs, want-ad volume significantly declined from already very depressed levels. Clearly, businesses have been busy laying off workers and scaling back already greatly reduced plans to hire. If the overall economy remains weak heading into the third quarter, a return to job growth earlier than the fourth quarter doesn’t seem likely.”
The Conference Board surveys help-wanted ads in 51 US newspapers across the country every month.