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Help-Wanted Advertising Increased in January
Associated Press
NEW YORK — The volume of help-wanted advertising in major U.S. newspapers rose in January, the Conference Board said in a report Thursday that said chances are good that the unemployment rate would dip below 4 percent this spring.

The business-financed research organization said its Help-Wanted Advertising Index rose to 89 in January from 86 in November. It was 92 in January 1999.

The index is used as a gauge of changes in job supply. It is watched by economists as an indicator of labor market conditions to help form estimates of unemployment rates.

"Employers are not cutting back on recruitment efforts, especially print ads. Employment searches on the Internet are also continuing at strong levels, although much of this activity is still difficult to measure accurately," said Ken Goldstein, an economist for the Conference Board.

The relationship among job advertising, the layoff rate and employment suggests the unemployment rate will soon fall below 4 percent, he said. The unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in January, the lowest rate since the 3.9 percent recorded in January 1970.

The report Thursday said that from November through January, help-wanted advertising rose in all parts of the country except the East South Central region, which includes Birmingham, Ala.; Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee; and Louisville, Ky., where it fell 4.9 percent.

The greatest increase was in the Pacific region, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento and San Bernardino in California; and Seattle, up 7.8 percent.

Other substantial increases were recorded in the South Atlantic region, up 7.7 percent and including Atlanta; Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Miami and Jacksonville in Florida; Richmond, Va.; and Washington, D.C.; and the East North Central region, up 5.5 percent and including Chicago; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Dayton in Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis and Gary in Indiana; and Milwaukee.

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