The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Increased 184,100 in February

04 Mar. 2015

  • February continues the strong demand growth seen in January
  • February gains were widespread across States and MSAs with large gains in California, Texas, and Michigan
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Online advertised vacancies rose 184,100 to 5,451,300 in February, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series, released today. The January Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.70 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 3.7 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 9.0 million in January.

“Online labor demand has shown a very strong start in 2015, with demand increasing 334,500 across the first two months of the year,” said Gad Levanon, Managing Director, Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research. “These increases are a positive sign for continued growth in the labor markets.”

In February, the Services/Production category saw most of the gains with Transportation (53,200), Food (16,500), and Sales (16,200). The Professional category showed strength in Management (11,700), Business and Finance (8,800), and Healthcare (16,000).


  • All of the 20 largest States posted gains in February
  • Among the 50 States, 45 experienced gains, 4 declined, and 1 (Wyoming) remained constant

February Changes for States

In February, online labor demand was up in 45 States (see Table 3), down in four, and constant in one (Wyoming). All four regions experienced increases.

The South experienced by far the largest increase, 98,200 in February. Among larger States in the region, Florida experienced an increase of 13,000 to 292,200. Texas rose 12,900 to 422,600. Georgia increased 11,600 to 164,300. Virginia gained 7,900 to 152,300. North Carolina increased 7,200 to 143,200. Maryland rose 6,400 to 109,800. Among the smaller States, South Carolina increased 6,100 to 70,300; Kentucky gained 4,800 to 55,800; Louisiana rose 3,100 to 61,600; and Alabama increased 3,000 to 56,900. Mississippi was up 1,500 to 28,100 and West Virginia inched up 400 to 21,400.

The Midwest experienced a February increase of 63,700. The largest increase occurred in Michigan—up 9,200 to 181,300. Wisconsin followed with a gain of 8,500 to 120,500. Minnesota rose 6,600 to 138,400. Missouri gained 5,300 to 96,000. Ohio rose 1,600 to 202,200. Illinois gained 900 to 215,000. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana increased by 5,900 to 91,200; Kansas was up 2,400 to 49,400; Iowa increased by 2,100 to 74,000; Nebraska gained 1,500 to 46,300; and South Dakota rose 800 to 20,800. North Dakota dropped 300 to 22,900.

The West rose 58,500 in February. California experienced by far the largest increase of 28,900, to 625,000. Washington rose 10,200 to 143,600. Colorado rose 4,900 to 135,600. Arizona inched up 100 to 106,600 (Table A). Among the smaller States in the West, Idaho and Hawaii each gained 1,600 to 30,600 and 17,900, respectively. New Mexico rose 1,200 to 32,900; Utah was up 1,000 to 63,500; and Alaska gained 800 to 19,000. Nevada dropped 700 to 48,800 (Table 3).

The Northeast rose 30,600. New York experienced the largest rise of 7,100, to 315,800. Pennsylvania gained 6,500 to 218,600. Massachusetts rose 5,400 to 164,300. New Jersey gained 2,700 to 147,500. In the smaller States, Connecticut increased 2,600 to 75,500, Rhode Island and Vermont gained 600 to 22,700 and 14,300 respectively, Maine rose 500 to 29,000, and New Hampshire inched up 100 to 26,100.

Supply/ Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for December 2014, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were six States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: North Dakota (0.51), Nebraska (0.69), South Dakota (0.77), Utah (0.83), Minnesota (0.85), and Colorado (0.87). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (3.46), where there were more than three unemployed workers for every job opening, and Louisiana (2.53) and Alabama (2.37), 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 February, 43 metro areas posted gains, 6 declined, and 3 (Memphis, Nashville, and Salt Lake City) remained constant (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In February, labor demand was up in 43 of the 52 largest metro areas, 6 declined, and 3 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest gains in each of the regions were: Washington, DC (+10,700) in the South; Los Angeles (+9,100) in the West; Philadelphia (+4,400) in the Northeast; and Detroit (+3,000) in the Midwest (See Table B and Table 5).

The South experienced by far the largest February increase, 98,200, led by Washington, DC, which rose 10,700 to 161,000. Atlanta increased 7,500 to 107,800. Miami gained 2,900 to 82,100. Baltimore rose 2,200 to 58,000. Dallas increased 2,000 to 127,900. Houston dropped 900 to 101,300. Tampa gained 1,500 to 49,200; Orlando increased 900 to 35,900; San Antonio rose 800 to 35,100; and Nashville remained constant.

The Midwest rose 63,700 in February. The largest increase was in Detroit, which gained 3,000 to 82,400, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul’s gain of 2,900 to 92,600. Chicago rose 1,900 to 164,200 and Cleveland gained 600 to 38,100. Kansas City increased by 2,400 to 44,400. St. Louis and Cincinnati each gained 1,400 to 44,700 and 37,600, respectively. Columbus increased by 1,200 to 41,100 and Indianapolis rose 800 to 31,900.

The West gained 58,500, led by Los Angeles, which rose 9,100 to 188,400. Seattle-Tacoma followed with an increase of 4,300 to 90,000. San Francisco rose 4,200 to 126,300. Phoenix gained 3,600 to 74,600. San Diego rose 3,200 to 51,500. Denver gained 2,900 to 76,800. San Jose dropped 300 to 53,900. Portland gained 3,100 to 52,200; Sacramento increased 2,500 to 32,400; and Salt Lake City remained constant.

The Northeast gained 30,600, reflecting an increase of 4,400 in Philadelphia to 105,100. Boston rose 2,700 to 125,800 and New York increased 2,000 to 290,100. Providence increased 2,200 to 30,300; Rochester rose 1,200 to 18,500; Hartford gained 600 to 29,500; and Buffalo inched up 300 to 22,200. Pittsburgh dropped 300 to 44,600.

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 December data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), five major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Salt Lake City (S/D rate of 0.61), Minneapolis–St. Paul (0.74), Denver (0.81), San Jose (0.97), and Austin (0.98) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included San Francisco (1.01), Oklahoma City (1.02), and Columbus (1.03).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (over 4 unemployed for every opening) as well as Los Angeles and Memphis (nearly 3 unemployed for every opening). In 42 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 February 8 of the 10 largest online job categories posted increases and 2 (Computers and Math and Architecture and Engineering) remained constant (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of February

All occupations posted increases except for Computer and Math and Architecture and Engineering occupations, which remained constant. Transportation ads spiked 53,200 in February to 417,300. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.77, i.e. about two unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening. (See Table 7 for Supply/Demand rates for all of the SOC categories.) Food Preparation and Service-Related occupations rose 16,500 to 241,500. Their supply/demand rate is 3.14, i.e. about three unemployed per opening.

Sales and related ads rose 16,200 to 596,700, partly due to gains for first-line supervisors of retail sales workers and wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives except technical and scientific products. Their supply/demand rate is 1.53, i.e. about two unemployed per opening. Healthcare Practitioners and Technical ads gained 16,000 in February to 581,700 and were led by increases in registered nurses, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, and speech language pathologists. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.38, i.e. about 2.6 advertised available openings for every job-seeker. Management ads increased 11,700 to 494,100. Their supply/demand rate is .85, i.e. about one unemployed per 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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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

April 1
May 6
June 3
July 1
August 5
September 2
September 30
November 4
December 2

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

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


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