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The Conference Board Employment Trends Index rose to 120.56 in March, after settling at 118.90 in February (a downward revision). This increase indicates another quarter of steady job growth is on the way.

“The labor market is continuing to add jobs, especially in in-person services and other industries that have yet to reach pre-pandemic levels of employment,” said Agron Nicaj, Associate Economist at The Conference Board. These industries are expected to have the highest job gains over the next few months.

“We can expect jobs to return to pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year.”

The index’s growth in March is thanks to positive contributions from six of the eight labor market indicators, ordered from the greatest to the smallest contributor: 

  • Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”
  • Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance
  • Industrial Production
  • Job Openings
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry
  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers

As the unemployment rate nears 3%, challenges finding and retaining employees are likely to continue throughout the year. “The labor force participation rate is expected to grow slightly with rising wages potentially luring more workers to the job market, driven by ongoing labor shortages,” Nicaj added. “During this tight labor market, job switchers are especially likely to reap the benefits of wage gains.”