The Welch Consulting Employment Index plummeted 1.7 points in March, falling from 103.3 to 101.6. This is a fall from the record high of 103.4 set in January, to a level not seen since August 2018.

The Welch Index measures full-time equivalent employment after adjustment for population growth and the aging of the workforce. An Index value of 100.0 indicates that adjusted full-time equivalent employment is the same as its level in the base year of 2004.

Over the past 12 months the Index has now fallen from 102.4 to 101.6. The decrease in the Index over the past year means that full-time equivalent employment has been shrinking relative to the growth of the adult population.  Full-time equivalent employment increased 0.8% slower than the adult population over the past year (after making adjustments for the aging of the U.S. adult population). Looking back at the most recent 6 months, the Index fell from 102.9 in September to 101.6 currently. All of the decline in the past year has occurred in the past month. The average rate of change over the past three years is an increase of about 0.4% per year.

In March the indices for women and men both fell by similar amounts. The index for women fell 1.8 points from 107.1 to 105.3. The index for men fell 1.7 points from 100.3 to 98.6. Over the last three years the index for women is up 2.0 points while the index for men is up 0.3 points.

Technical Note: Full-time equivalent employment equals full-time employment plus one half of part-time employment from the BLS household survey (the Current Population Survey). The data reported for a given month is generally from the calendar week that contains the 12th day of the month. 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.