The Welch Consulting Employment Index is 94.8 for October 2012, up 1.4% from October 2011 (seasonally adjusted). An index value of 94.8 means that full-time equivalent employment (from the BLS household survey) is 5.2% below its level in the base year of 1997, after adjusting for both population growth and changes in the age distribution of the labor force. The index is at its highest level since March 2012. The index is 2.0% higher than its level two years ago and is 2.9% above its lowest level ever reached in July 2011. The index had fallen sharply in the spring and early summer but has recovered all of those losses over the past two months.
The Welch Consulting Employment Index, disaggregated by gender, shows that the labor market recovery has been stronger for men than for women since 2009. The index for men is 92.6 for October 2012, up 1.9% over the past twelve months, and up 3.0% since October 2009. The index for women is 97.5 for October 2012, which is down slightly over the past month, and up much less (0.9%) over the past twelve months and past three years (0.7%) than it has been for men. Despite the difference in trends over the past three years favoring men, the index for men remains well below the index for women. This is because men lost many more full-time equivalent jobs (a decline of 9.5%) than women (a decline of 5.0%) from the beginning of 2008 through the fall of 2009.
Technical Note: Full-time equivalent employment equals full-time employment plus one half of part-time employment from the BLS household survey. The Welch index adjusts for the changing age distribution of the population by fixing the age distribution of adults to the 1997 base year. The Welch Index adjusts for population growth by fixing total population to its 1997 level. Seasonal effects are removed in a regression framework using monthly indicator variables.