The Welch Consulting Employment Index is 94.9 for January 2013, up from 94.5 in December. The employment index increased despite the increase in the U.S. unemployment rate because more people were participating in the labor force in January, as a fraction of the total population, compared to December. An index value of 94.9 means that full-time equivalent employment (from the BLS household survey) is 5.1% 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 has recovered from sharp declines in the summer of 2012 and is the same as it was in March 2012. This means that full-time employment has kept pace with population growth over the past ten months. Over the past five years the Welch Consulting Employment Index has fallen 6.2% (it was 101.2 in January 2008).
The Welch Consulting Employment Index, disaggregated by gender, is 92.8 for men and 97.7 for women. Both the indices for men and women are up sharply slightly from December. Over the past ten months the men’s index is up 0.3% while the women’s employment index is down 0.2%. Over the past five years the men’s employment index is lower by 6.5% and the women’s index is lower by 5.7%.
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.