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For the second consecutive month, the Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) declined in November, dropping to 117.65 after coming in at 118.74 in October (downward revision). This downward trend suggests slower job growth in the coming months.

“The labor market is currently still robust,” said Frank Steemers, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “However, the fourth consecutive decline in the number of temporary help services jobs — a component of the ETI and an important leading indicator for hiring — is a warning sign that job growth may slow going into 2023.”

Six of the eight labor market indicators influenced the index’s decrease in November: 

  • Initial Claims for Unemployment
  • Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now
  • Industrial Production
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry
  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales

“With the economy expected to slow further in 2023 amid the Federal Reserve’s rapid interest rate hikes,” Steemers added, “we expect the US labor market to cool and possibly even record some monthly job losses.”

However, the unemployment rate is expected to jump to 4.5% next year, so some labor shortage challenges will likely persist. “Employers may still need to manage recruitment and retention difficulties, as well as rising labor costs, into the new year and beyond.”