Employment continued to grow in July, according to The Conference Board’s latest Employment Trends Index. The index now stands at 127.89, up from 127.57 in June, its second consecutive month of growth, representing a 4.4-percent gain compared to a year ago.

“The growth in the Employment Trends Index slowed down in the past three to six months, suggesting that we may see somewhat slower job growth in the months ahead,” says Gad Levanon, The Conference Board’s managing director of macroeconomic and labor market research. “Still, with almost no expansion of the labor force, a slowing of employment growth to 150,000 to 200,000 jobs a month would be enough to rapidly tighten the labor market.”

The Conference Board’s Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out “noise” to show underlying trends more clearly.

July’s increase was driven by positive contributions from five of the eight components that comprise the Index. In order from the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Industrial Production, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms with Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, and Job Openings.

The eight labor-market indicators aggregated into the Employment Trends Index include:

  • Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get” (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey)
  • Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance (U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now (National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation)
  • Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers (BLS)
  • Job Openings (BLS)
  • Industrial Production (Federal Reserve Board)
  • Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)