The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) rose in January by one percent to 93.2, the fifth consecutive month it has risen. However, it is down 0.7% from a year ago.

“The continued rise in the ETI makes us more optimistic that job growth will resume in the first quarter of 2010,” said Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. “The improvement is widespread across all eight components. In particular, Friday’s large decline in the number of involuntary part-time workers was the first time this component showed a strong signal of improvement.”

The January rise in the ETI was driven by positive contributions from six of its eight labor market components: the percentage of respondents who say they find jobs hard to get, the number of temporary employees, part-time workers for economic reasons, the number of temporary workers, industrial production and real manufacturing and trade sales, initial claims for unemployment insurance, the percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now, and job openings.

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