The Conference Board Employment Trends Index edges down as US nears full employment; labor market still adding jobs


The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index edged down slightly in April to a reading of 120.18 from March’s upwardly revised reading of 120.78 and indicated the US may be nearing full employment.

“The Employment Trends Index saw little change in April, signaling continued steady job growth in the months ahead,” said Agron Nicaj, associate economist at The Conference Board. “Indeed, a relatively flat ETI indicates that the labor market is still expanding, but growth is not expected to accelerate in the coming months, as the US is likely nearing full employment.”

Nicaj noted the US labor market continues to add jobs, especially in in-person services and in other industries that haven’t yet fully recovered from job losses since the pandemic. These industries are expected to experience the greatest job and wage gains in the coming months as labor shortages show no signs of alleviating.

“The unemployment rate is expected to get close to 3% by the end of the year, with little improvement in labor force participation,” Nicaj said. “Employment is still down 1.2 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels, but The Conference Board expects 2.1 million more payroll employment gains this year. Wage growth will likely continue to accelerate as a result, adding further pressure on inflation.”