A compilation of U.S. labor indicators edged up in August, despite that month seeing extremely dismal hiring, according to a report released Monday by the Conference Board.
The board said its August employment trends index increased 0.51% to 108.59, from a revised 108.04, first reported as 108.11.
The latest index is up 6.2% from a year earlier.
Despite the gain, the index is barely above its February level, leading the board to be cautious about future hiring.
"Economic activity expanded by less than a 2% rate in recent months, and this pace is likely to continue through the end of the year," said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the board. "In such an environment, it's difficult to foresee the economy adding much more than 100,000 jobs per month."
On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said only 96,000 new jobs were created in August. The weak job gain has led economists and investors to expect the Federal Reserve to roll out another round of easing after its meeting this week.
In August, four of the eight components within the ETI improved. These indicators included percentage of firms with hard-to-fill positions, which rose, and the ratio of involuntary part-time to all part-time workers, which decreased.
The Conference Board's index is an aggregate of eight labor-market indicators, including jobless claims, job openings data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and industrial production figures from the Federal Reserve. It seeks to facilitate forecasts for employment, unemployment and wages by filtering out the noise and volatility of monthly labor market indicators and showing underlying trends more clearly.
The employment trends index is published the first business day following the government's monthly jobs report.
Write to Kathleen Madigan at [email protected]
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