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August 29, 2003
Is Hiring Ready to Rebound?

In a possible sign the hiring market may have finally hit bottom and is poised for a rebound, the volume of help-wanted advertising in the nation's newspapers remained steady in July, according to the Conference Board.

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The board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index was unchanged in July. The index remains at 38, down from 44 a year ago.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising rose in six of the nine U.S. regions. Largest increases occurred in the Mountain (12.6 percent), Pacific (9.8 percent) and East South Central (6.6 percent) regions. Declines occurred in the West North Central (-1.8 percent), West South Central (-1.5 percent) and South Atlantic (-0.3 percent) regions.

"The labor market may finally be hitting bottom," says Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein. "While layoffs remain large, they are no longer intensifying. Job advertising volume has stopped declining, although it remains at very low levels."

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

The latest seasonally adjusted results follow:

July 03
June 03
May 03
July 02
National Index
38
38
35
44
Proportion of Labor Markets With rising Want-ad Volume
37%
75%
37%
25%
Jobless Rate
6.2%
6.4%
6.1%
5.8%
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