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Help-wanted listings rebound in January

Rochester’s help-wanted advertising rebounded in January after falling to its lowest point in more than two years in December, the Conference Board Inc. reported.

Help-wanted listings rebound in January

Rochester’s help-wanted advertising rebounded in January after falling to its lowest point in more than two years in December, the Conference Board Inc. reported.
The local index increased to 13 last month from 10 in December, but was down from 15 a year ago.
Nationally, the help-wanted ad index fell to 21 in January from 22 in December and 32 a year ago. Some 41 percent of labor markets had rising want-ad volume in January, down from 59 percent in December but up from 35 percent a year ago.
The Syracuse area’s help-wanted ad index fell to 99 in January from 104 in December, but was up from 93 a year ago. The Buffalo area is not surveyed.
The Middle Atlantic region, which includes Rochester and Syracuse, was unchanged last month at 15, but was down from 19 in January 2007.
“The best thing about 2008 is that it will end next winter,” labor economist Ken Goldstein said. “Many economists debate whether we’re in a recession or on the verge of one. What’s more important is that people are behaving as if a recession is already here.”
Goldstein noted the weakness in the labor market reinforces the recent decline in consumer confidence.
“Consumers fear that costs for food, energy and housing will continue to rise faster than incomes, squeezing household budgets, which will cause a pullback in spending,” he said. “The latest data on job advertising in print suggests there’s virtually no chance that labor market activity will improve over the next few months. To the contrary, there is a chance the labor market could grind to a halt.”
In the last three months, help-wanted advertising fell in five of the nine U.S. regions surveyed, with the steepest declines in the East South Central region, which includes Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The Conference Board surveys 51 major newspapers nationwide for their help-wanted advertising volume. A large volume of ads suggests a strong job market, while fewer ads indicate a weak market, with job candidates willing to accept lower pay.
The seasonally adjusted index is based on a value of 100 in 1986. The index looks at the change within a market but does not compare help-wanted ad indexes between markets. Rochester’s dip from the base value occurred early in the Conference Board’s surveying, due primarily to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the area.
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