The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Rose 83,100 in May

03 Jun. 2015

  • Job demand gains in May offset most of the April loss
  • Gains are widespread across areas and occupations
  • Note: Table 6 and MSA unemployment data in Table B are omitted until BLS issues revised seasonally adjusted MSA unemployment data

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Online advertised vacancies rose 83,100 to 5,445,000 in May, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series, released today. The April Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.59 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 3.2 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 8.5 million in April.

“Following a very strong January and February, the growth in online vacancies has been basically flat over the past three months,” said Gad Levanon, Managing Director, Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research. “Still, even with the recent three-month pause, the 2015 growth rate has significantly outpaced the 2014 growth rate during the same time period.”

In May, the Professional category saw the most gains with the STEM categories of Computers (16,400) and Healthcare (19,700) showing the strongest improvements. The Services/Production category saw gains in Transportation (13,400) and Construction (6,700) but losses in Food (−6,700) and Sales and Related (−8,300). The significant drop in the US S/D rate has been helped by very strong employer demand, ranging from 4 to 5 million ads each month over the past 4 years, making it easier for the recession’s 15 million unemployed to find employment opportunities. With the recession’s unemployment numbers finally down significantly, the continued high employer demand at 5 million ads per month will make the job search for new entrants into the labor market much easier.


  • 18 of the 20 largest States posted gains in May
  • Among the 50 States, 41 States rose and 9 declined

May Changes for States

In May, online labor demand was up in 41 States (see Table 3) and down in 9. All four regions experienced increases.

The South experienced the largest May increase, 30,700 (Table A). Among larger States in the region, Virginia led the rise with an increase of 3,900 to 150,600. Texas rose 3,800 to 401,800. Maryland gained 3,100 to 106,100. North Carolina rose 2,600 to 144,300. Georgia increased 2,000 to 161,300. Florida slipped 500 to 283,900. Among the smaller States, South Carolina increased 2,600 to 67,900; Kentucky gained 2,500 to 55,500; and Alabama rose 2,300 to 55,800. Louisiana increased 1,700 to 59,000; Mississippi rose 700 to 27,800; and West Virginia inched up 300 to 21,400 (Table 3).

The Northeast gained 23,200. New York experienced the largest increase, 8,200, to 329,300. Massachusetts gained 5,600 to 173,600. Pennsylvania increased 2,200 to 221,300. New Jersey dropped 500 to 147,500. In the smaller States, Connecticut increased 3,100 to 79,700; Maine rose 2,300 to 31,800; New Hampshire gained 1,300 to 26,800, Rhode Island rose 1,200 to 22,700; and Vermont inched up 300 to 14,100.

The West gained 16,200. California experienced the largest gain, 6,500, to 631,700. Washington increased 3,500 to 145,400. Colorado increased 1,600 to 136,600. Arizona rose 1,300 to 105,400. Among the smaller States in the West, Oregon rose 1,600 to 83,800; Nevada and Hawaii both increased 1,200 to 48,800 and 18,800 respectively; and Utah increased 1,100 to 64,400. Idaho and Alaska were both up 600 to 29,300 and 19,000 respectively. New Mexico inched up 300 to 31,200.

The Midwest rose 1,100 in May. Ohio gained 2,800 to 198,900. Michigan rose 2,400 to 180,400. Wisconsin increased 2,200 to 119,600. Minnesota and Missouri both rose 800 to 132,700 and 92,800 respectively. Illinois inched up 300 to 210,000. Among the smaller States in the region, Iowa increased 400 to 70,900. Nebraska and North Dakota both fell 800 to 42,500 and 20,500 respectively; South Dakota declined 500 to 19,800; Kansas dropped 300 to 46,500; and Indiana slipped 200 to 87,900.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for April 2015, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were nine States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: Nebraska (0.59), North Dakota (0.61), Utah (0.79), South Dakota (0.81), Minnesota (0.86), Montana (0.89), Colorado (0.89), Vermont (0.91), and Iowa (0.93). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (3.07), where there were more than three unemployed workers for every job opening, and West Virginia (2.58) and Louisiana (2.54), which had more than two 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 May, 42 metro areas increased, 8 declined, and two remained constant (Cleveland and Orlando) (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In May, labor demand was up in 42 of the 52 largest metro areas, down in 8, and unchanged in two (Cleveland and Orlando). The MSAs with the largest increases in each of the regions were: San Francisco (+8,000) in the West; New York (+6,300) in the Northeast; Washington, DC (+5,400) in the South; and Minneapolis (+1,100) in the Midwest (See Table B and Table 5).

The South experienced the largest May increase, 30,700. Washington, DC led the rise with an increase of 5,400 to 159,000. Dallas rose 3,900 to 126,400. Baltimore gained 1,700 to 56,700. Atlanta increased 1,200 to 105,400. Miami gained 500 to 78,100. Houston dropped 400 to 90,500. Nashville increased 1,600 to 35,700, Tampa gained 700 to 49,200, and San Antonio dropped 300 to 32,800. Orlando remained constant at 36,100.

The Northeast rose 23,200, reflecting an increase of 6,300 in New York to 296,300. Boston gained 5,100 to 131,300. Philadelphia slipped 200 to 102,700. Providence increased 1,700 to 30,700, Hartford rose 1,200 to 31,800, Rochester gained 900 to 19,100, and Buffalo grew 300 to 23,400. Pittsburgh slipped 100 to 43,200.

The West gained 16,200. San Francisco led the increase with a gain of 8,000 to 131,000. Denver rose 2,600 to 78,400. Los Angeles increased 1,800 to 185,700. Seattle-Tacoma gained 1,700 to 93,200. Phoenix grew 1,200 to 73,000. San Jose increased 1,100 to 55,800. San Diego dropped 200 to 50,900. Portland rose 1,500 to 51,400, Salt Lake City increased 900 to 36,800, and Sacramento gained 400 to 32,000.

The Midwest gained 1,100. Minneapolis-St. Paul rose 1,100 to 90,000. Detroit inched up 300 to 81,600. Chicago slipped 100 to 159,500. Cleveland remained constant at 36,300. St. Louis increased 2,300 to 44,000, Cincinnati rose 1,500 to 39,200, and Kansas City and Columbus gained 1,100 each to 41,700 and 40,900 respectively. Indianapolis rose 700 to 31,900, and Milwaukee inched up 200 to 33,200.


  • In May, 8 of the largest online job categories posted increases while 2 posted decreases (Table C).

Occupational Changes for the Month of May

In May, 8 of the largest online job categories posted increases while 2 posted decreases. Healthcare Practitioners and Technical ads gained 19,700 in May to 601,500 and were led by increases in speech language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.35, i.e. about 2.9 advertised available openings for every job-seeker. Computer and Math demand increased 16,400 in May to 595,500 due to a rise in demand for computer systems analysts. Transportation ads rose 13,400 to 387,500 largely due to an increase in demand for laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand. Management ads increased 7,600 to 485,900 due to a rise in demand for medical and health services managers.

Sales and related ads dropped 8,300 to 579,300 due to a loss for sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products. Their supply/demand rate is 1.67, i.e. about two unemployed per opening. Food Preparation and Serving-Related ads declined 6,700 to 240,600 largely due to decreased demand for first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers and combined food preparation and serving workers including fast food. The supply/demand rate for Food Preparation and Serving-Related lies at 3.09, i.e. about three unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.


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,

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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 2015

July 1
August 5
September 2
September 30
November 4
December 2

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, July 1 at 10:00 AM ET

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


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