By Xavier Fontdegloria


An index measuring employment trends in the U.S. increased in February, suggesting that the recovery path of the labor market accelerated, data from the Conference Board showed Monday.

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index was 101.01 in February, up compared with a revised 99.69 for January.

February posts the 10th consecutive monthly increase for the index. The indicator is down 7.8% from a year ago, which was the last reading before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the job market.

The release of the index follows Friday's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which showed U.S. labor market experienced the highest monthly job growth since last fall, with nonfarm payrolls up by 379,000.

The increase of the index signals strong job growth in the coming months, Gad Levanon, head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute, said.

"The combination of declining new infections, lower pandemic-related restrictions, households flush with savings, and large government stimulus will all contribute to robust growth in economic activity and employment in 2021," he said.

The U.S. economy is likely to add between five million and six million jobs through the end of the year, pushing down the unemployment rate well below 5%, Mr. Levanon said.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor market-related indicators to show underlying trends in employment conditions.

The rise in February was driven by positive contributions from six of the eight components, which are the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry, the percentage of respondents who say they find jobs hard to get, job openings, and real manufacturing and trade sales.

The ratio of involuntarily part-time to all part-time workers and industrial production components didn't contribute positively to the index in February.


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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 08, 2021 10:32 ET (15:32 GMT)

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