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The Conference Board's index measuring job ads in U.S. newspapers rose one point in December and now stands at 22. It was 33 in the same period a year ago.
Help-wanted advertising in newspapers fell in eight of the nine U.S. regions in the past three months. The East North Central region showed a modest increase.
"The latest readings in print want-ad volume show a flat trend in the last three months of the year," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. "The lack of stronger job prospects is resulting in very cautious and nervous consumer attitudes and spending patterns. Meanwhile, with corporate profits no longer rising strongly, business is turning cautious about taking on relatively expensive labor."