Employment Index in U.S. Increases to More Than Five-Year High

Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) -- A measure of job prospects in the U.S. advanced in August to a more than five-year high, a sign the labor market is improving.

The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index increased 0.7 percent to 113.54, the highest since April 2008, the New York-based private research group said today. The prior month’s reading was revised up to 112.8 from 112.2. The measure is up 4.5 percent from a year earlier.

“Employment is likely to moderately expand through the fall,” Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, said in a statement.

Today’s report follows Labor Department data last week that showed payrolls rose 169,000 in August following a 104,000 gain a month earlier. The unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008, as workers left the labor force.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators to forecast short-term hiring trends. Improvements in seven of the index’s eight components contributed to the gain in the overall gauge, the Conference Board said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington at schandra1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net