Conference Board's Employment Trends Index Rises in July for Third Consecutive Month

An index measuring employment trends in the U.S. rose in July for the third consecutive month as the labor market continued to recover from the coronavirus shock to the economy, data from the Conference Board showed Monday.

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index stood at 50.89 in July, compared with an upwardly revised figure of 49.46 in June.

The labor market is still far from making up all lost ground, as the index is down 53.8% from a year ago, the report said. In February, before the coronavirus hit to the economy, the index was at 109.27.

The improvement of the Employment Trends Index follows a strong employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, published last Friday, which showed the U.S. added 1.8 million jobs in July and the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%.

Despite increasing again, the July's results mark a small improvement compared with the gains made in May and June. According to Gad Levanon, head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute, the slowing momentum likely resulted from the diminishing impact of the reopening of the economy.

"This stark deceleration represents a preview of what's to come: over the next several months, job growth will significantly put on the brakes, likely causing the national unemployment rate to remain in double-digit territory," Mr. Levanon said.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor market-related indicators to show underlying trends in employment conditions. Six of the eight components made positive contributions to the index in July.

From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: the number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry, industrial production, the percentage of respondents who say they find "jobs hard to get," initial claims for unemployment insurance, the ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers, and job openings.

Write to Maria Martinez at maria.martinez@wsj.com


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  08-10-20 1028ET
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