The Welch Consulting Employment Index retreated in March from its recent high of 101.4 to 101.2. This same retrenchment was seen in the numbers for women and the numbers for men. The index remains near its highest level since June, 2008.

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 risen from 100.6 to 101.2. 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 0.6% faster 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 increased from 101.1 in September to 101.2 currently – an increase of 0.1%. The rate of change over the past year is slower than the overall trend for the last 3 years of about 1.0% increase per year and the most recent six months reflect a continuing slowdown in employment growth.

The indices for men and women both fell this month. The index for women decreased from 103.7 to 103.5. The index for men fell 0.1 points this month, from 99.5 to 99.4. For the past 12 months the index for women climbed 0.2 points and the index for men rose 1.0 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.