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The Conference Board's index measuring job ads in U.S. newspapers fell two points in March and now stands at 19. It was 29 in the same period a year ago.
"The cumulative impact of the housing crisis, financial market turmoil, higher energy, and other prices is slowing the overall economy and resulting in job cuts and reduced hiring intentions -- with the prospect that declines may steepen," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. "The labor market is likely to get worse before it gets better."
Help-wanted ads in newspapers fell in all nine U.S. Census regions in the last three months. The East North Central region showed the steepest decline, down 20.3%.