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June 02, 2003
Help-Wanted Ad Volume Dips Again in April
Help-wanted advertising fell in April, according to the Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index - a barometer of America's job market. The index now stands at 35, down from 38 in March. It was 47 one year ago.

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In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in all nine regions of the United States. Steepest declines occurred in the East South Central (-32.0 percent), Middle Atlantic (-18.4 percent), Pacific (-16.4 percent) and New England (-15.7 percent) regions.

"April may represent a low point for the ailing labor market," says Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board. "After initial unemployment claims revealed a big rise in layoffs, want-ad volume significantly declined from already very depressed levels. Clearly, businesses have been busy laying off workers and scaling back already greatly reduced plans to hire. If the overall economy remains weak heading into the third quarter, a return to job growth earlier than the fourth quarter doesn't seem likely."

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month. The organization says ad volume has proven to be sensitive to labor market conditions, and this measure provides an important gauge of change in the local, regional and national supply of jobs.

Latest seasonally adjusted results:

April 03
March 03
Feb.03
March 02
National Index
35
38
40
47
Proportion of Labor Markets With rising Want-ad Volume
20%
43%
41%
37%
Jobless Rate
6.0%
5.8%
5.8%
5.9%

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