The Welch Consulting Employment Index increased from 97.5 to 98.0 between September and October.

This increase is the largest one month increase in the index since 2001.  The index rose sharply as the official unemployment rate edged down to 5.8% and full-time employment has increased by over one million over the past two months.  The Welch Index measures full-time equivalent employment, adjusting for population growth and the aging of the workforce.  The Welch Index is about 2.1% higher than it was one year ago.  In other words employment grew about 2.1% faster than the rate of growth in the adult population over the past year.  The last time the Index was 98.0 was January of 2009, President Obama’s first month in office.

The Welch Index of 98.0 indicates that full-time equivalent employment is 2.0% 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 index is about 4.8% below its peak in March of 2007.

The Welch Consulting Employment Index for women increased to 99.7, the highest it has been since April 2009.  The women’s index increased at a rapid rate because the number of women employed in full-time jobs increased by 175,000 and part-time employment of women increased by 272,000.  The women’s index is just 0.3% below its level in the base year of 2004.  The Welch Index for men increased from 96.3 to 96.6 as full-time employment increased by 272,000 and men’s part-time employment barely changed.  The men’s index has increased by 2.3% in the past year as the full-time employment of men increased by about 2.2 million.

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.