The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Rises 164,600 in August

03 Sep. 2014

  • August posts strong increase following small loss in July
  • Large gains for California, Michigan, Illinois, and Florida

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Online advertised vacancies gained 164,600 to 5,209,200 in August, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series released today. The July Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.9 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 4.6 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 9.7 million in July.

“Labor demand has shown some renewed strength over the past three months with an average increase of 102,000 per month,” said Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomics and Labor Markets at The Conference Board. “The 2014 gains through August are an improvement over the slower-paced gains of 2013 for the same time period.”

In August the professional occupations continued to show improvements after earlier 2014 losses. Gains included Business and Finance (10,700), Computer and Math (19,300), and Healthcare (24,200). The Services/Production occupations also showed gains in Office and Administration (20,100), Sales (13,900), and Food Preparation (12,300) (See Table 7).


  • Eighteen of the 20 largest States (all but Pennsylvania and Washington) posted gains in August
  • Among the 50 States, 45 experienced gains while 5 (others were Utah, Alaska, and West Virginia) declined

August Changes for States

In August, online labor demand was up in 45 States (see Table 3) and down in five States. All four regions experienced gains.

The Midwest experienced the largest August gain, at 54,200. The largest gain occurred in Michigan (15,200) to 174,900. Illinois rose 12,500 to 213,900. Wisconsin (+6,300 to 112,400), Ohio (+4,400 to 181,700), Missouri (+2,600 to 84,500), and Minnesota (+1,900 to 125,500) also saw improvement. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana rose 5,800 to 90,200; Iowa rose 2,900 to 62,500, and Kansas rose 1,000, to 47,400. North Dakota and South Dakota inched up with gains of 500 and 200 respectively.

The South grew by 47,800 in August. By far the largest gain among larger States in the region was Florida’s increase of 11,900 to 273,300. Texas gained 7,400 to 400,400, followed by Virginia (+5,000 to 150,400), North Carolina (+4,100 to 132,700), Georgia (+3,300 to 148,700), and Maryland (+1,900 to 105,100). (Table A.) Among the smaller States, South Carolina was up 3,300 to 67,800 and Kentucky rose 1,900 to 51,400. Alabama and Mississippi were up 800 and 600, respectively, while West Virginia fell 500.

The West experienced a gain of 47,700, led by a spike of 32,300 in California to 579,200. Colorado (+7,600 to 130,500) and Arizona (+4,300 to 99,400) also saw gains, while Washington fell 400 to 127,200. Among the smaller States in the West, Oregon (+4,800 to 73,000) led gains, followed by Idaho (+1,900 to 25,600) and Hawaii (+900 to 21,000). New Mexico saw a slight gain of 800 while Utah dropped 1,500 and Alaska fell 600 (Table 3).

The Northeast rose 12,900, reflecting gains in Massachusetts (+7,900 to 157,300),  New Jersey (+6,700 to 147,600) and New York (+5,100 to 308,600). Pennsylvania dropped 16,100 to 202,200. In the smaller States, Connecticut gained 2,200 to 72,900; New Hampshire gained 1,700 to 31,200; and Rhode Island gained 1,000 to 21,200. Maine and Vermont were both up slightly by 500.

Supply/ Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for July 2014, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were five States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: North Dakota (0.50), South Dakota (0.85), Utah (0.89), Nebraska (0.94), and Vermont (0.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (3.96) and Kentucky (3.04), where there were over three unemployed workers for every job opening.

Please note that the Supply/Demand rate only provides a measure of relative tightness of the individual State labor markets and does not suggest that the occupations of the unemployed directly align with the occupations of the advertised vacancies.


  • In August, among the 20 largest metro areas, two (Houston and Philadelphia) declined, 17 gained, and one (Cleveland) remained constant
  • Of the 52 metro areas for which Help Wanted OnLine provides monthly data, 46 gained advertisements, four (including Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City) lost, and 2 (Cleveland and Buffalo) remained constant (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In August, out of the largest 52 metro areas, online labor demand was up in 46 metro areas and down in 4 while 2 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest gains in each of the regions were: Chicago (+9,400) and Detroit (+6,000) in the Midwest; San Francisco (+8,400) and Los Angeles (+7,000) in the West; Boston (+5,700) and New York (+5,400) in the Northeast; and Washington, DC (+5,000) in the South (See Table B and Table 5).

The Midwest experienced the largest gain, 54,200, in August. The largest increase occurred in Chicago, which rose 9,400 to 165,500. Detroit increased 6,000 to 76,800, and Columbus rose to 37,400 with an increase of 1,500. Minneapolis-St. Paul added 1,300 and stands at 83,500. St. Louis increased 1,100, Indianapolis gained 1,000, Cincinnati rose 400, and Cleveland remained constant.

The South gained 47,800 in August. Washington, DC gained 5,000 to 150,300, Miami rose 3,900 to 78,000, and Dallas increased by 3,000 to 120,200. Houston dropped 1,600. San Antonio grew by 1,100. Charlotte and Tampa both gained 800 and reached 37,300 and 42,200 respectively.

The West experienced a gain of 47,700 with an increase of 8,400 in San Francisco to 120,500. Los Angeles rose 7,000 to 172,200 while Denver increased 3,200 to 71,100 and Phoenix gained 3,000 to 65,700 (Table 5). San Diego gained 2,200, San Jose rose 1,600, Las Vegas grew to 32,300 with an increase of 900, and Seattle-Tacoma inched up 100 to 83,000.

The Northeast rose 12,900, reflecting a gain of 5,700 in Boston to 120,900. New York rose 5,400 to 288,500, and Philadelphia decreased by 1,200 to 98,300. Pittsburgh dropped 5,000 to 41,500 while Hartford rose 700 and stands at 28,100. Buffalo remained constant at 21,000, and Providence grew by 1,500 to 27,800.

The number of postings does not, however, tell the entire story. A crucial factor is how many unemployed people are seeking jobs and how much competition there is for the jobs that are available. The Conference Board HWOL’s Supply/Demand rate relates the number of unemployed workers to the number of advertised vacancies. Based on July data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), only Salt Lake City and Minneapolis-St. Paul among major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers (S/D rates of 0.64 and 0.96 respectively) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included San Jose (1.05), Austin (1.08), San Francisco (1.08), Oklahoma City (1.10), Denver (1.11), Boston (1.12), and Washington, DC (1.12).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (nearly 5 unemployed for every opening) as well as Memphis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento (nearly 3 unemployed for every opening). In 33 of the 52 metro areas, however, there are now fewer than 2 unemployed per advertised opening. (See Table 6 for complete metro area Supply/Demand rates.)


  • In August all of the 10 largest online job categories posted gains (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of August

The largest gain in August was in Healthcare practitioners and technical workers, which increased 24,200 in August to 552,100 as demand for registered nurses increased. However, the supply/demand rate for these workers lies at 0.41, i.e. about 2.5 advertised available openings for every job-seeker. (See Table 7 for Supply/Demand rates for all of the SOC categories.) Demand for Office and administrative support workers rose 20,100 in August to 572,900 as demand for customer service representatives increased. Demand for Computer and mathematical science workers rose 19,300 to 580,500 partially due to increased demand for computer user support specialists and web developers.

Demand for Sales and related workers increased 13,900 to 618,800 largely due to increased demand for retail salespeople. Demand for Food preparation and serving-related workers increased 12,300 to 215,900 due to increased demand for waiters and waitresses and first-line supervisors/managers of food preparation and serving workers. Business and financial demand rose 10,700 to 315,500 largely due to increased demand for accountants and management analysts.


HWOL available on Haver Analytics

Over 3,000 of the key HWOL press release time series are exclusively available on Haver Analytics. The available time series include the geographic and occupational series for levels and rates for both Total Ads and New Ads. In addition to the seasonally adjusted series, many of the unadjusted series are also available. The geographic detail includes: U.S., 9 Regions, 50 States, 52 MSAs (largest metro areas). The occupational detail includes: U.S. (2-digit SOC), States (1-digit SOC) and MSAs (1-digit SOC).

For more information about the Help Wanted OnLine database delivered via Haver Analytics, please email or navigate to For HWOL data for detailed geographic areas and occupations not in the press release, please contact



The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® Data Series (HWOL) measures the number of new, first-time online jobs and jobs reposted from the previous month for over 16,000 Internet job boards, corporate boards and smaller job sites that serve niche markets and smaller geographic areas.

Like The Conference Board’s long-running Help Wanted Advertising Index of print ads (which was published for over 55 years and discontinued in July 2008), the HWOL series measures help wanted advertising, i.e. labor demand. The HWOL data series began in May 2005. With the September 2008 release, HWOL began providing seasonally adjusted data for the U.S., the nine Census regions and the 50 States. Seasonally adjusted data for occupations were provided beginning with the May 2009 release, and seasonally adjusted data for the 52 largest metropolitan areas began with the February 2012 release.

People using this data are urged to review the information on the database and methodology available on The Conference Board website and contact us with questions and comments. Background information and technical notes and discussion of revisions to the series are available at:

Additional information on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data used in this release can be found on the BLS website:

The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

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WANTED is a leading supplier of real-time business intelligence solutions for the talent marketplace. Using technology to gather data from corporate career sites and online job boards, WANTED builds products to help our users make better human capital decisions faster. Users of our products include corporate human resources departments, market analysts and employment services firms as well as the federal, state and local labor market analysts that use HWOL. For more information, please visit:


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Release Dates for 2014

October 1
November 5
December 3

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3, at 10:00 AM ET

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


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