Help Wanted Index Stays Even in October

November 26, 2003 ( -The number of managers looking for employees via a newspaper ad remained steady in October.

The Conference Board’s Help-Wanted Advertising Index, which measures help-wanted ad volume in 51 major US papers, was down to 37 in October, the same reading as the Index had in September. This time last year however, the Index stood at 40, according to the Conference Board.

Help-wanted advertising declined in the last three months in seven of the nine regions of the US, led by a drop in theMountain states (-10.4%), followed by Middle Atlantic (-9.3%) and South Atlantic (-7.0%).

Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein attributes the overall steadiness in the Index to employers adopting a wait-and-see mode in their hiring plans. However, Goldstein predicts an uptick may be just around the corner. “Although consumers continue to feel that jobs are hard to get right now, they do expect the job climate to improve over the next six months. Leading indicator data are also in-line with trends in consumer confidence and job advertising. The Leading Economic Index now suggests the economy will continue rising into early 2004. But overall, job advertising volume is not moving up yet, awaiting more positive news.”