The Conference Board Employment Trends Index rose in March, its sixth straight monthly gain. Now at 100.9, it is up from 100.3 in February and has gained 8% from a year ago.

“The Employment Trends Index started signaling acceleration in employment growth late last year, which we are now experiencing,” said Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. “In the last six months, employment excluding construction and state and local government has been growing faster than almost any other six-month period in the past decade. We do not expect a turnaround in those sectors, which are still lagging, nor do we forecast acceleration in overall economic growth in the next several quarters. As a result, employment growth is likely to continue growing at its current rate and not improve further for the rest of 2011.”

The employment trends index is made up of eight indicators: the percentage of respondents who say jobs are hard to get, initial claims for unemployment insurance, percentage of firms with positions not able to fill right now, the number of employees hired by the temporary-help industry, part-time workers for economic reasons, job openings, industrial production and real manufacturing and trade sales.