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April 28, 2003
Help-Wanted Advertising Falls Again in March
The Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index - a barometer of America's job market - dipped two points in March. The index now stands at 38, down from 40 in February. It was 45 one year ago.

In the last three months, help-wanted advertising declined in five of the nine U.S. regions. Declines occurred in the East North Central (-2.1 percent), West North Central (-12.8 percent), Pacific (-10.2 percent), West South Central (-5.1 percent), and East South Central (-21.2) regions. Increases occurred in the Mountain (33.1 percent), New England (16.4 percent), South Atlantic (1.9 percent), and Middle Atlantic (2.4 percent) regions.

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"The current U.S. labor market is a classic example of a few regions (such as the Rocky Mountain and New England) starting to gain momentum while a few others (such as the East North Central and Pacific Coast) are still suffering declines, with the rest of the country stuck in the middle," says Conference Board Economist Ken Goldstein. "The delayed recovery in the job market now suggests that the earliest the labor market will snap back to life will be later this year or even early next year."

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

March 03
Feb. 03
Jan. 03
March 02
National Index
Proportion of Labor Markets
With rising Want-ad Volume
49 %
41 %
55 %
45 %



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