The Conference Board uses cookies to improve our website, enhance your experience, and deliver relevant messages and offers about our products. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this site is provided in our cookie policy. For more information on how The Conference Board collects and uses personal data, please visit our privacy policy. By continuing to use this Site or by clicking "OK", you consent to the use of cookies. 
Press Release / News
Solid employment growth and accelerating labor productivity
07 September, 2018


Comment on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report

Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, The Conference Board

The US economy added 201,000 jobs in August, in line with the trend of the past year. Whereas we have seen a strong acceleration in GDP growth over the past two years, from about 1.5 percent to about 3.5 percent, employment growth barely accelerated at all. That means that the long-awaited improvement in productivity growth has finally arrived, at least for now.

Still, the current employment growth is more than enough to continue tightening the labor market. We expect economic growth to remain strong in the coming year, leading to more of the same: solid employment growth that will continue to tighten the labor market and draw more people back into the labor force. Growing labor market tightness will increase recruiting difficulties, labor turnover and compensation. The 12-month growth in average hourly earnings accelerated to 2.9 percent, the highest in this expansion, but still below the pre-recession rates. Labor market tightness varies significantly across occupations and geographies. Supply constraints are more visible in blue-collar occupations, where we are observing faster wage growth. We also anticipate this to provide a further incentive to businesses to raise productivity.

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232
carol.courter@conference-board.org

Joseph DiBlasi
781.308.7935
Joseph.DiBlasi@conference-board.org

ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Leading Economic Index for:

  • Australia 0.1%
  • Brazil 0.3%
  • China 1.1%
  • Euro Area 0.4%
  • France 0.1%
  • Germany 0.1%
  • Global 0.4%
  • India 1.2%
  • Japan 0.3%
  • Korea 0.3%
  • Mexico 1.6%
  • Spain 0.0%
  • U.K. 0.2%
  • U.S. 0.4%
  • International Labor Comparisons:
  • Visit ILC website
  • Productivity:
  • Visit Total Economy Database™ website
  • Global Economic Outlook:
  • Visit Global Economic Outlook website