unemployment diary, day 21
First the bad news. Via Wampum, I learn that the help-wanted index, a key job indicator, fell three points last week.
The Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index – a key barometer of America's job market – declined three points in April. The Index now stands at 35, down from 38 in March. It was 47 one year ago.
In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine regions of the U.S. Steepest declines occurred in the East South Central (-32.0), Middle Atlantic (-18.4), Pacific (-16.4%) and New England (-15.7%) regions.
Says Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein: “April may represent a low point for the ailing labor market. After initial unemployment claims revealed a big rise in layoffs, want-ad volume significantly declined from already very depressed levels. Clearly, businesses have been busy laying off workers and scaling back already greatly reduced plans to hire. If the overall economy remains weak heading into the third quarter, a return to job growth earlier than the fourth quarter doesn’t seem likely.”
The Conference Board surveys help-wanted advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month. Because ad volume has proven to be sensitive to labor market conditions, this measure provides an important gauge of change in the local, regional and national supply of jobs.
That about matches my own perceptions -- the help wanted section of the local paper is pretty think these days. Of course, a lot of it depends on what you're looking for -- health care and restaurant work are still in demand.
The good news is, I had that job interview this morning -- the first interview for a specific position in my job search so far -- and it seemed to go well indeed. Crystal had an interview as well; if things work out exactly to our liking, we may have several choices to ponder. Updates, of course, as they occur.