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Help-wanted index flat

In one more sign of a continued soft labor market, The Conference Board reported that its Help-Wanted Advertising Index, which tracks job advertising in newspapers across the nation, remained flat in November.

The business think tank said the seasonally adjusted index held at a reading of 40, unchanged form the prior month and down from a year-ago level of 45. During the past three months, job advertising has declined in all nine regions of the U.S., with the biggest drops recorded in New England, the Middle Atlantic states and the West South central region.

"The softening in the labor market through November reflected a weak economy, said Ken Goldstein, Conference Board analyst. "The coincident indicators had turned flat twice over the prior four months, while industrial production and new orders failed to sustain recoveries.

"The hiring outlook going forward remains subdued, and Goldstein said, "The signal from flat advertising levels in November is that hiring intentions will likely not be improving in January or February."

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