Help Wanted Index Steady After 3 Mos of Declines

December 27, 2002 ( - The number of managers looking for employees via a newspaper ad held steady in November after three months of decline, according to a closely monitored economic indicator.

The Conference Board’s Help-Wanted Advertising Index, which measures help-wanted ad volume in 51 major US papers, was a flat at 40 in November, the same as  October’s number .   It stood at 45 a year ago.

Help-wanted advertising declined in the last three months in all nine regions of the US, according to the Conference Board.

Steepest declines occurred in the New England (-8.6%), Middle Atlantic (-6.4%) and West North Central (-4.8%) regions.

“The softening in the labor market through November reflected a weak economy. Now we have evidence that hiring intentions remained as weak in November as they were in August. This suggests that the economy was indeed in a ‘soft spot’ and far too weak to stimulate new hiring. Even if the economy picks up early in 2003, it may take until spring before hiring gains some momentum. The signal from flat advertising levels in November is that hiring intentions will likely not be improving in January or February,” said Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein, speaking about the results.