The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Falls 137,200 in September

01 Oct. 2014

  • September posts a decline, following strong August gain.
  • The STEM related categories continue to gain while other occupational groups show losses.

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Online advertised vacancies declined 137,200 to 5,072,000 in September, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series released today. The August Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.84 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 4.4 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 9.6 million in August.

“The September loss offsets most of August’s gain, resulting in only modest overall growth for 2014,” said Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomics and Labor Markets at The Conference Board. “Following a strong second quarter, the third quarter has ended basically flat.”

In September, the STEM-related occupations showed strength in Computer and Math (9,600), Architecture and Engineering (3,400), and Healthcare Practitioners (12,200), while other categories showed losses, including Office and Administrative (-40,600), Sales (-32,500), and Transportation (-22,900) (See Table 7).

The release schedule, national historic table and technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website: The historical series for the States and the 52 largest MSAs is available from Haver Analytics. The underlying data for The Conference Board HWOL is collected by Wanted Technologies.


  • All 20 of the largest States posted declines in September
  • Among the 50 States, 45 experienced losses while 5 (Iowa, Utah, Maine, Alaska, and Nebraska) gained

September Changes for States

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

The South experienced the largest decline, 51,900, in September. By far the largest decline among larger States in the region was Texas’s decrease of 16,400 to 383,900. Florida experienced a decline of 11,600 to 261,700 and was followed by Georgia (-4,500 to 144,200), Virginia (-4,000 to 146,300), North Carolina (-2,400 to 130,300), and Maryland (-1,200 to 104,000) (Table A). Among the smaller States, Kentucky slipped 2,300 to 49,000 and Alabama was down 1,100 to 50,400. South Carolina and West Virginia were both down 1,000 while Mississippi fell 300.

The Midwest experienced a September decline of 31,100. The largest decline occurred in Michigan (-12,800 to 162,100). Ohio fell 6,500 to 175,300. Minnesota (-5,600 to 120,000), Illinois (-1,800 to 212,100), Wisconsin
(-1,700 to 110,700), and Missouri (-1,100 to 83,400) also saw losses. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana fell 5,700 to 84,500 and Kansas fell 1,600 to 45,800. North Dakota and South Dakota decreased by 400 and 100 respectively. Iowa rose 3,800 to 66,400, and Nebraska edged up by 100 to 41,300.

The West experienced a loss of 20,800, led by a decline of 11,000 in California to 568,200. Washington fell 7,600 to 119,600. Arizona (-3,500 to 95,900) and Colorado (-2,600 to 127,900) also saw declines. Among the smaller States in the West, Utah rose 1,700 to 58,200 and Alaska inched up 300 to 17,800. Nevada fell 2,400 to 46,200. New Mexico and Hawaii both slipped 800 (to 27,800 and 20,200 respectively), and Idaho declined 700 to 24,900 (Table 3).

The Northeast experienced a decline of 20,200, reflecting losses in New York (-12,700 to 295,800), New Jersey (-5,100 to 142,500), and Massachusetts (-1,800 to 155,500). Pennsylvania dropped 1,000 to 201,200. In the smaller States, Connecticut dropped 1,700 to 71,100; New Hampshire fell 1,300 to 29,900; and Rhode Island declined 1,100 to 20,000. Vermont slipped 300 while Maine gained 900.

Supply/ Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for August 2014, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were four States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: North Dakota (0.49), South Dakota (0.82), Utah (0.90), and Nebraska (0.90). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (3.81), where there were close to 4 unemployed workers for every job opening, and Alabama (2.86), which had nearly 3 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 September, among the 20 largest metro areas, 2 (San Jose and San Francisco) gained and 18 declined
  • Of the 52 metro areas for which Help Wanted OnLine provides monthly data, 8 gained advertisements, 43 lost, and 1 (Rochester) remained constant (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In September, out of the largest 52 metro areas, online labor demand was down in 43 metro areas and up in 8 while 1 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest declines in each of the regions were: Detroit (-5,800) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (-3,200) in the Midwest; Seattle-Tacoma (-3,800) and Los Angeles (-2,200) in the West; New York (-19,000) in the Northeast; and Houston (-4,900) and Washington, DC (-4,000) in the South (See Table B and Table 5).

The South experienced the largest decline, 51,900, in September. Houston dropped 4,900 to 91,700, and Washington, DC followed with a decrease of 4,000 to 146,300. San Antonio declined 2,600 to 29,700, Dallas fell 2,500 to 117,700, Orlando decreased by 2,000 to 32,400, and Miami dropped 1,600 to 76,500. Atlanta declined 700 while Baltimore fell 500 to 54,400.

The Midwest declined by 31,100 in September. The largest decrease was in Detroit, which fell 5,800 to 71,000, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul’s decrease of 3,200 to 80,200, and Chicago’s loss of 1,400 to 164,000. Columbus slipped to 35,700 with a decrease of 1,700. Indianapolis decreased by 1,500 and stands at 32,000. Cincinnati rose 1,300, St. Louis increased by 300, and Kansas City fell 800 to 37,700.

The West experienced a fall of 20,800, led by decreases in Seattle-Tacoma (-3,800 to 79,200), Los Angeles (-2,200 to 170,000), and Phoenix (-1,400 to 64,300). San Jose experienced a rise of 1,300 to 52,400, Sacramento rose 900 to 28,100, and San Francisco had a slight gain of 800 to 121,300. Salt Lake City rose 500, and San Diego declined by 1,200. Denver and Portland both experienced losses of 100.

The Northeast fell 20,200, reflecting a decline of 19,000 in New York. Philadelphia decreased 1,300 to 97,000, and Boston fell 800 to 120,100. Pittsburgh rose 1,100 to 42,600 while Hartford fell 700 and stands at 27,400. Buffalo slipped 700 to 20,300, Providence fell 1,100 to 26,800, and Rochester remained constant at 15,800.

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 September, of the 10 largest online job categories, 3 posted gains and 7 posted declines (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of September

The largest gain in September was in Healthcare practitioners and technical workers, which increased 12,200 in September to 564,300 as demand for pharmacy technicians increased. The supply/demand rate for these workers lies at 0.36, i.e. about 2.8 advertised available openings for every job-seeker. (See Table 7 for Supply/Demand rates for all of the SOC categories.) Computer and mathematical science workers rose 9,600 to 590,100, partially due to increased demand for application software developers, computer systems analysts and web developers. Demand for Architecture and engineering workers rose 3,400 in September to 172,000 as demand for industrial, mechanical, and civil engineers increased.

Demand for Office and administrative support workers decreased 40,600 to 532,400 due to a decreased demand for customer service representatives and executive secretaries and administrative assistants. Demand for Sales and related workers decreased 32,500 to 586,300 largely due to a fall in demand for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers and advertising sales agents. Transportation and moving workers demand fell 22,900 to 313,000 largely due to a drop in demand for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.


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

November 5
December 3

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, November 5, at 10:00 AM ET

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


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Press Release
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