Seven of the nine regions measured by the index experienced increases, with the largest growth occurring in the South Atlantic, up 14.1%, West North Central, up 12.6%, and West South Central, up 12.4%.
"After remaining flat though much of 2004, the measure of labor demand edged a little higher in December," said Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board, in a statement. "There was also a brief respite from layoffs as indicated by the data for initial jobless claims. In both, cases, there have been occasional improvements over the year, but each instance proved short lived."
Goldstein estimates the current activity could be more than just a blip. "It can be argued that consumers believe the labor market will start to improve in the next few months," he said in a statement.
The Conference Board surveys help-wanted advertising volume in 51 major newspapers across the country every month.
By: E&P Staff The Conference Board announced that its Help-Wanted Advertising Index rose two points in December, to 38. It was at 38 one year ago.