The Conference Board Employment Trends Index released today suggests that while job gains will continue for the time being, there are clear indications of a slowdown in the labor market. According to Selcuk Eren, senior economist at The Conference Board, they project that job growth will continue to decelerate, and they anticipate job losses to begin in the second quarter of 2024, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 4.3% by the second half of 2024. In November, the index decreased to 113.05 from 113.09 in October, continuing its decline from its peak in March 2022, although it remains elevated compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Eren also highlighted that over the last six months, most of the job gains were seen in healthcare and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, and government sectors, which are less likely to be impacted by a recession due to acute labor shortages. However, job growth in other industries has been stagnant or negative. Several component indicators of the Employment Trends Index also point to decreasing labor demand, such as the decline in temporary help services jobs, an increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance, and a rise in the share of respondents in The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey reporting difficulty in finding jobs to the highest level since March 2021.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight leading indicators, including data from The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey, the US Department of Labor, the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Federal Reserve Board, and the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.  

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