Computers are being used by business people to work from home. Concepts of technology and business trend analysis, with business graphs shown on a computer notebook.

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) increased to 118.74 in January, up from 117.06 in December (upward revision). Last month’s rise and December’s revision ends a brief period of decreases in the index and suggests continued job growth over the next few months. 

“Robust hiring continues to keep the ETI at a very high level and the economy is still experiencing significant job gains in industries where labor shortages have been most acute,” said Selcuk Eren, Senior Economist at The Conference Board, adding that “labor shortages will continue to be the theme going forward.”

Seven of the eight labor market indicators contributed positively to the index in January: 

  • Initial Claims for Unemployment
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales
  • Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now
  • Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”
  • Industrial Production
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry
  • Job Openings

“The number of employees working in temporary help services — a component of the ETI and an important leading indicator for hiring — increased in January after falling for two consecutive months,” Eren added. “This is revised from an originally reported five-month decline.” 

Hourly wage growth is still above pre-pandemic levels, but it’s slowing after nearing 6% last year. This, Eren said, may be a sign of rebalancing in the labor market. “For the rest of 2023, we anticipate the Federal Reserve will continue increasing interest rates in order to reduce labor market tightness and bring wage growth and inflation under control.”