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October 31, 2003
Help-Wanted Advertising Holds Steady
The volume of help-wanted advertising in the nation's newspapers remained steady in September, according to the Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index. The index was 37 in September, holding even with the previous month's level. The index was 43 a year ago.

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In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in eight of the nine U.S. regions. Steepest declines occurred in the Mountain (-14.6 percent), West North Central (-12.1 percent), South Atlantic (-9.4 percent) and New England (-7.9 percent) regions.

"The labor market is no longer declining, with want-ad volume at the same level since June and initial unemployment claims inching down," says Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board. "While employment gains have been scant, the number of layoffs has slowed. An advancing economy and a sustained increase in the demand for goods and services will generate more demand for labor. If the economy stays on its current growth path, a better job market should start to develop over the next six months."

The news comes as the government announced that the economy grew at a faster pace in the third quarter than most economists expected. The government's report said the economy grew by a rate of 7.2 percent.

The Conference Board surveys help-wanted advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month.

The latest seasonally adjusted results follow:

  Sep 03 Aug 03 July 03 Sep 02
National Index 37 37 38 43
Proportion of Labor Markets
with Rising Want-Ad Volume
41% 49% 35% 71%
Unemployment Rate 6.1% 6.1% 6.2% 5.7%

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