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Help-wanted listings down in March

Rochester’s help-wanted advertising fell in March for the third consecutive month, the Conference Board Inc. reported.
The local index was 11 last month, compared with 12 in February and 12 a year ago. The Syracuse area’s help-wanted ad index increased to 101 in March from 99 in February and 98 a year ago. The Buffalo area is not surveyed.
Nationally, the index fell to 19 last month from 21 in February and 29 in March 2007. Some 39 percent of labor markets had rising want-ad volume in March, up from 33 percent in February but down from 51 percent a year ago.
The Middle Atlantic region, which includes Rochester and Syracuse, was unchanged at 14 from February to March, but was down from 17 a year ago.
“Print want-ad volume has shown a slightly declining trend over the past half year,” labor economist Ken Goldstein said. “The cumulative impact of the housing crisis, financial market turmoil, higher energy and other prices is slowing the overall economy and resulting in job cuts and reduced hiring intentions—with the prospect that declines may steepen.”
The labor market likely will get worse before it gets better, Goldstein said.
“This is precisely the fear driving consumer and business expectations down to levels only seen during recessions,” he added.
In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine of the U.S. regions surveyed, with the steepest declines in the East North Central region, which includes Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.
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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