The Welch Consulting Employment Index increased from 98 to 98.2 in January.  The index increased as seasonally adjusted full-time employment, as measured by the Current Population Survey, increased by 437,000 between December and January, as part-time employment declined by 269,000.  Employment gains were the largest for younger workers, as employment increased by 164,000 (1.2%) for workers age 20-24 and 220,000 (0.7%) for workers age 25-34.

The Welch Index measures full-time equivalent employment, adjusting for population growth and the aging of the workforce.  The Welch Index is about 1.4% higher than it was one year ago.  In other words, full-time equivalent employment has increased about 1.4% more than adult population growth over the past year.  The Welch Index of 98.2, the highest value since January of 2009, means that full-time equivalent employment is 1.8% below its level in the base year of 2004, after adjusting for population growth and changes in the age distribution of the labor force.

The Welch Consulting Employment Index for women decreased slightly to 99.9, and has been virtually unchanged over the past three months.  The women’s index has increased by 1.0% over the past 12 months.  The Welch Index for men increased from 96.5 to 96.8 and has increased by 0.7% over the past two months as full-time employment of men is now 739,000 above its level in November 2014 while the part-time employment of men has remain unchanged over the past two months.  The men’s index has increased by 1.6% over the past year.

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 distribution in the base year of 2004.  Seasonal effects for the share of workers employed in part-time jobs are removed in a regression framework using monthly indicator variables.