Conf. Board: Help-Wanted Ads Up in July

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U.S. job creation remains healthy even as record energy prices stir worries about a slowdown in hiring in some sectors, the Conference Board (search) said on Thursday.

Help-wanted ads in 51 major newspapers across the country edged up in July, according the Conference Board, a private research group. The help-wanted index rose to 39 from 38 in June and was the highest since April.

The report was consistent with the July payrolls report issued earlier this month showing 207,000 non-farm jobs were added.

"This modest rise in July may reflect the firm July payroll rather than being a signal for August," said David Sloan, analyst at 4CAST Ltd. (search) in New York.

Financial markets showed little response to the report, partly because help-wanted ads in newspapers are seen as an outdated measure.

"Because of the dramatic shift in job advertising market share from newspapers to the Internet, the help-wanted index has lost much of its luster," said Steven Wood, economist at Insight Economics.

The Conference Board recently added a help-wanted series tracking job ads on some 1,200 major and niche Internet job boards. The traditional help-wanted index dates back to 1951.

There were 1.97 million jobs advertised online in July, down from just over 2 million in June and May but up from about 1.8 million in April, the group said.

The dip in new online ad postings largely reflected the July 4th holiday week, when advertising volume was lower than during the last three weeks of the month.

Sloan said the history of the online help-wanted series is "still too brief to be useful."