Help Wanted Index Pops Up in November

December 29, 2003 ( - In its first increase since June, the Conference Board's help-wanted advertising index jumped in November to 39 from 37 the month before.

By comparison, the index was at 40 a year ago. In the last three months, help-wanted advertising rose in seven of the nine US regions, with the strongest hikes in New England (15.6%), east north central (12%) and west south central (8.1%) regions. Declines occurred in the mountain (-6.6%) and south atlantic regions (-1.8%).

Despite spots of weakness, however, analysts were encouraged by the data. “The labor market is finally sparking to life,” said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein.

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month.

Economists have said in recent months that an economic recovery won’t be able to take hold until employers are confident enough of the future to bring on more staff.