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Press Release
The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Increased in May
08 June, 2020

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) Increased in May

Employment will continue growing through the summer


The Conference Board Employment Trends Index™ (ETI) increased in May, following sharp declines in March and April. The index now stands at 46.28, up from 42.53 (a downward revision) in April. However, the index is down 57.9 percent from a year ago.

“The Employment Trends Index increased in May. Seven of the eight components made positive contributions to the index, suggesting that the number of jobs will grow in the coming months,” said Gad Levanon, Head of The Conference Board Labor Markets Institute. “The number of workers returning to work is larger than the number of new layoffs. That was the case in May and will likely be the case moving forward. Just to put things in perspective, the job gains in May recouped just 11 percent of the jobs lost in March and April. Just how much consumers will increase their spending – and how many new workers employers are willing to hire during such uncertain times – remains to be seen. Also, layoffs are far from over. According to a recent survey by The Conference Board, many human resource executives at large companies say their organizations plan on laying off workers in the coming months. By the end of 2020, the employment level in the US may still be 10 million below where it stood in February – a difficult time for the class of 2020 to enter the labor market.”

May’s increase was fueled by positive contributions from seven of the eight components. From the largest positive contributor to the smallest, these were: Job Openings, Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, the Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Industrial Production, the Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers, and the Number of Employees Hired by the Temporary-Help Industry.

The Employment Trends 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.

Download the National Historical Table.

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)**


*Statistical imputation for the recent month

**Statistical imputation for two most recent months


The Conference Board publishes the Employment Trends Index monthly, at 10 a.m. ET on the Monday that follows each Friday release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report. The technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website:


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For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232

Joseph DiBlasi


Technical Notes
Underlying detail, diffusion indexes, components, contributions and graphs


Leading Economic Index for:

  • Australia 0.9%
  • Brazil 1.0%
  • China 0.9%
  • Euro Area 1.6%
  • France 3.0%
  • Germany 3.4%
  • Global 5.9%
  • India 17.4%
  • Japan 2.4%
  • Korea 2.0%
  • Mexico 11.9%
  • Spain 3.0%
  • U.K. 2.9%
  • U.S. 2.8%
  • International Labor Comparisons:
  • Visit ILC website
  • Productivity:
  • Visit Total Economy Database™ website
  • Global Economic Outlook:
  • Visit Global Economic Outlook website