Help-Wanted Index (HWI)

Help-Wanted Index (HWI)

What is the Help-Wanted index?

The Conference Board Help-Wanted Index (HWI) measures the efficiency with which employers match jobs to the available workforce (the unemployed) and is an important indicator of the economy.

The Conference Board, looking for a way to increase the portfolio of employment statistics, created the Help-Wanted Advertising Index in 1951. The most obvious contribution of the HWI is its measurement of the evolution of the job demand represented on classified newspaper pages, which is considered a leading indicator of unemployment. Perhaps the most significant contribution is the indirect measure by the HWI of the slackening of the labor market, ie the number of job vacancies or the efficiency of the twinning process.

Understanding the Help-Wanted Index (HWI)

When the Help-Wanted Index (HWI) increases, this means that there are a relatively large number of vacancies. This can be interpreted as a shortage of workers. Because employers may have to raise wages to attract workers, wage inflation could result, which could have a negative effect on the bond and stock markets.

Created for the first time in 1951, the index aggregates the lines of classified ads for job search of 52 large newspapers, each coming from a different metropolitan statistical region of the United States.

The HWI was restructured to reach 100 in 1987 and is made public in a monthly press release. The Conference Board publishes a national number for HWI, as well as regional figures representing nine segments of the country, and a percentage representing the proportion of the labor market with the growing volume of classified ads. The current HWI report is available on the Conference Board website.

The Conference Board is made up of a council of presidents and administrators and its voting members. More recently, these positions have been filled by many senior executives from companies such as Deutsche Bank, BBVA, Deere & Company, Johnson & Johnson, Monsanto, MasterCard, General Electric, Novartis and State Farm Insurance.

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