March Help-Wanted Ads Still Weak

April 25, 2002 ( - In a sign that the economic recovery has not yet taken hold, the Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index fell by one point in March.

The Index now stands at 46, down from 47 in February and 67 a year ago.

Compared to the previous month, the proportion of labor markets where advertising for job vacancies has increased is stagnant at 43%, but significantly better than the 14% recorded a year earlier.

Over the first quarter, help-wanted advertising declined in seven regions and rose in two. The steepest declines occurred in:

  • the West North Central, where help-wanted advertising was down by -13.3%
  • West South Central, where it fell by -3.7%
  • East South Central, where it dipped by -3.3%.

Increases occurred in:

  • the East North Central, where help-wanted advertisements increased by 4.9%
  • the Middle Atlantic region, where it was up by 1.2%.

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month. Because ad volume has proven to be sensitive to labor market conditions, this measure provides a gauge of change in the local, regional and national supply of jobs, according to The Conference Board.