"Slow employment growth is likely to continue in the next few months," Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, said today in a statement. "There is no reason to expect employers to rapidly expand their workforce in the current economic environment."
The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators to forecast short-term hiring trends. On average, it can signal a rebound in hiring as little as three months before the fact and can predict job declines six to nine months in advance, the Conference Board said.
Improvements in five of the index's eight components contributed to the increase in the overall gauge in July. These included a drop in jobless claims, an increase in industrial production and gains in employment for temporary workers, the report showed.
Payrolls rose by 163,000 in July after a 64,000 gain in June, the Labor Department said on Aug. 3. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 100,000 advance. Private payrolls, which exclude government agencies, rose 172,000, also exceeding the median forecast.
The jobless rate climbed to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent. Unemployment stuck above 8 percent since February 2009 is one reason why Federal Reserve policy makers last week said they are prepared to take new steps if needed to boost the economy.
Including the July gain, the U.S. has recovered 4 million of the 8.8 million jobs lost as a result of the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.