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Volume of Want Ads Dips Slightly

November 25, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Help wanted advertising in major U.S. newspapers dipped slightly in October, but demand for labor remains strong, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Conference Board, a private business research group, said its monthly advertising index slipped to 87 last month, down one point from September and one point from a year ago.

The index, based on 100, is derived from measuring the volume of employment ads in 51 major newspapers across the country each month. The index is used as a non-governmental gauge of changes in local, regional and national job supply.

``From mid-August through the end of October, there was widespread concern that the economy in general, and the labor market in particular, might be coming in for a landing. But the data do not support these dire predictions,″ said Conference Board economist Ken Goldstein.

``The number of new jobs being created each month appears to have dropped to an average 200,000, compared with about 250,000 per month during the last two years. This has kept the unemployment rate no lower than it was six months ago,″ he said.

``This is not an economy in retreat,″ he said.

However, Goldstein said the decline demand for jobs may help take a little pressure off wages, which have been rising about 4 percent annually.

Eight of the nation’s nine regions saw a slackening of help-wanted advertising sales. Only New England recorded an increase. The largest decline was in mid-Atlantic, east north central and west north central states.

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