Conference Board's Ad Index Drops

Largely overlooked among better U.S. economic news of the past week -- first-quarter GDP revised upward, and gains in the rate of growth for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing -- is the drop in the Conference Board's index of help-wanted advertising. The index, which the New York-based business research group describes as "a key barometer" of the U.S. job market, fell two points from 39 in April to 37 in May, the most recent month for which data are available.

"Hiring intentions have turned cautious as business executives face the prospect of slower overall economic activity in the second half of 2005," says Ken Goldstein, the Conference Board's labor economist.

The index is based on a monthly survey of help-wanted advertising volume in 51 U.S. major newspapers.

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