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February 28, 2000
Unemployment Rate Likely To Fall Below 4 Percent This Spring
The
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Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index rose to 89 in January, up three points from December. It was 92 one year ago.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising rose in all regions of the country except for the East South Central (-4.9) region. Greatest increases were in the Pacific (7.8%), South Atlantic (7.7%) and East North Central (5.5%) regions.

Says Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein: "Employers are not cutting back on job recruitment efforts, especially in print ads. Employment searches on the Internet are also continuing at strong levels, although much of this activity is still difficult to measure accurately."

The relationship between job advertising, the layoff rate and employment suggests that the unemployment rate will dip below 4% this spring.

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

Latest seasonally adjusted results follow:

Jan. 00 Dec. 99 Nov. 99 Jan. 99
National Index 89 86 85 92
Proportion of Labor-Markets
With rising Want-ad Volume
65% 39% 47% 75%
Unemployment Rate 4.0% 4.1% 4.1% 4.3%
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