The Welch Consulting Employment Index dropped slightly from 98 to 97.9 in November.  The index fell because employment, as measured by the Current Population Survey, registered a seasonally-adjusted increase of just 4,000 workers between October and November.

The Welch Index measures full-time equivalent employment, adjusting for population growth and the aging of the workforce.  The Welch Index is about 1.5% higher than it was one year ago reflecting the fact that full-time equivalent employment has increased about 1.5% more than adult population growth over the past year.  The Welch Index of 97.9 indicates that full-time equivalent employment is 2.1% 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 aggregate index masks important gender differences in labor market conditions for men and women in November.  The Welch Consulting Employment Index for women increased to 100.1, the highest it has been since early 2009.  The women’s index has increased by a full percentage point in the past two months as the number of employed women increased by 735,000 in the past two months.  The women’s index is now above its level in the base year of 2004.  In contrast the Welch Index for men decreased from 96.6 to 96.1 as full-time employment dropped by 380,000 in the past month and men’s part-time employment increased by only 98,000.  The men’s index has increased only slightly since March of this year and is 3.9% below its level in 2004.

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.