COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY INDEXES FORESEE EMPLOYMENT GAINS, STABLE INFLATION

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY INDEXES FORESEE EMPLOYMENT GAINS, STABLE INFLATION

A Columbia University index that forecasts employment trends jumped to a record high in April while an index that forecasts inflation rose slightly in March, Columbia's Center for International Business Cycle Research reported.

The substantial gain in the leading employment index is helping to put recession fears to rest, Geoffrey H. Moore, director of the center at the Columbia Business School, said in a statement issued with the report.Meanwhile, the inflation index shows that the economic pressures for and against a rising inflation rate seem to be roughly balanced, suggesting that inflation will remain close to 4 percent, awaiting new developments either on the cost or demand side, Mr. Moore said.

Other forecasts have indicated higher inflation.

The center's leading employment index rose to 195.5 (1967 = 100) from a revised 192.7 in March. Its annualized growth rate jumped to 6.3 percent in April from a revised 4.4 percent in March.

All except one of its six components rose. Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose only slightly, but the other components moved favorably, the center said.

The center's leading inflation index rose to a 114.5 in March from revised 114.2 in February. The level of the index is a gauge of possible inflation six to 12 months ahead. It has moved little since last September.