The Welch Consulting Employment Index increased again in December, demonstrating continued strength in labor markets. The index rose from 98.6 in November to 99.0 in December, up from 98.0 in December 2014.

The Welch Index measures full-time equivalent employment after adjustment for population growth and the aging of the workforce. The Index value of 99.0 indicates that adjusted full-time equivalent employment is 1.0% below its level in the base year of 2004.

The increase in the Index over the past year means that full-time equivalent employment has been growing at a faster rate than the adult population.  Full-time equivalent employment increased 1.0% faster than the adult population over the past year (after making adjustments for the aging of the U.S. adult population).

When broken out by gender, both men and women saw an increase in employment in December, though the increase for men was two-and-a-half times as large as that for women. The index for men rose 0.5 points, from 96.9 to 97.4, while the index for women rose from 100.8 to 101.0. For the past 12 months the index for women rose 1.0 point and the index for men rose 0.9 points.

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.