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The Conference Board's index measuring job ads in U.S. newspapers fell one point in January and now stands at 21. It was 31 in the same period a year ago.
"The best thing about 2008 is that it will end next winter," said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. "The latest data on job advertising in print suggests there's virtually no chance that labor market activity will improve over the next few months. To the contrary, there is a chance the labor market could grind to a halt."
Help-wanted advertising in newspapers fell in five of the nine U.S. regions in the past three months. The East South Central showed the steepest decline, down 16.3%.