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The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) was 113.02 in August, down from a downwardly revised 114.71 in July. This indicates slower growth and job losses may be ahead.

The ETI has trended down since March 2022, but still remains elevated. Selcuk Eren, Senior Economist at The Conference Board, said that “job gains may continue over the coming months, but the rate of growth is likely to slow and eventually switch to job losses.”

“As anticipated, some industries are already shedding jobs, including information services and transportation and warehousing,” Eren continued. “August’s ETI suggests that these pockets of weakness will eventually broaden to the rest of the labor market. For instance, the number of employees working in temporary help services—an important early indicator for hiring in other industries—has declined steadily since its peak in March 2022. Job openings—an indicator of opportunities available to workers—are also declining rapidly, though still remain above prepandemic levels.”

Eren also noted that consumer sentiment suggests the labor market will continue to cool and that the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates at least once more before the end of the year. “Indeed, we expect the Fed’s monetary policy tightening will trigger job losses in early 2024 and increase the unemployment rate,” he said.