The Business Times

Fed to publish new US labor market index monthly starting Oct 6

Published Thu, Oct 2, 2014 · 03:13 AM

[WASHINGTON] The Federal Reserve will begin publishing a new monthly index of US labor market conditions on Monday, October 6, that draws on a range of data to give a better sense of the economy's health.

The Fed said on Wednesday it expected to issue its Labour Market Conditions Index, or LCMI, on a regular basis on the first business day following the release of the monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The LCMI is a composite that draws on 19 indicators, from broad measures like the unemployment rate itself to narrower indicators like surveys of business hiring plans. The aim is to produce a single measure to gauge whether labor markets are on the whole improving or not.

Much of the recent debate at the Fed has centered around whether single indicators, like the unemployment rate, give an accurate picture of the state of the labor market. Though the unemployment rate has been falling, for example, wages have remained fairly stagnant, leaving many officials at the US central bank convinced that labor markets remain slack.

In a note in May describing the LCMI, Fed board economists calculated the index for recent years and found it had yet to recover the ground lost during the financial crisis and recession.

In a statement on its website on Wednesday, the Fed said the LCMI would be posted on each release day "at some point after 10 am" The LCMI is the second new labor market indicator to be generated by the central bank as it tries to develop a better understanding of wage, job and related dynamics in the current economy. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank in August began publishing a new monthly indicator of labor market conditions based on 24 labour market variables. - Reuters

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