The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Increased 150,400 in January

04 Feb. 2015

  • 2015 starts with widespread increases in labor demand across States and MSAs
  • Large State gains in California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Ohio
  • Note: January data incorporates the HWOL annual revision (see Program Notes on page 7)
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Online advertised vacancies rose 150,400 to 5,267,100 in January, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series, released today. The December Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.70 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 3.6 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 8.7 million in December.

“Online labor demand begins 2015 with a large gain, suggesting that labor markets are continuing to improve,” said Gad Levanon, Managing Director, Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research. “In January, all large States and MSAs showed solid growth with the increase spread across the major occupational categories.”

In January, the Professional category saw strong gains in Management (14,000), Business and Finance (12,400) and Healthcare (11,800). The Services/Production category saw large gains in Sales (21,300), Office/Admin (29,200) and Transportation (27,200). Supply/Demand rates have also continued to show improvement (see Table 7).


  • All of the 20 largest States posted gains in January
  • Among the 50 States, 44 experienced gains, 5 declined, and 1 (Wyoming) remained constant

January Changes for States

In January, online labor demand was up in 44 States (see Table 3), down in 5, and constant in 1 (Wyoming). All four regions experienced increases.

The South experienced the largest increase, 46,900 in January. Among larger States in the region, Texas rose 10,900 to 409,600. Florida experienced an increase of 9,900 to 279,200. Georgia rose 6,900 to 152,700. North Carolina gained 4,600 to 136,000. Maryland rose 3,400 to 103,400 and was followed by Virginia, which gained 1,500 to 144,400. Among the smaller States, Alabama rose 3,300 to 53,900, South Carolina increased 2,600 to 64,300, Kentucky gained 1,400 to 51,100, and Mississippi was up 900 to 26,600. Louisiana and West Virginia gained 700 to 58,500 and 21,100 respectively.

The West rose 44,000 in January. California experienced by far the largest increase, 24,500, to 596,100. Washington rose 5,800 to 133,400. Arizona gained 5,700 to 106,500. Colorado rose 2,300 to 130,700 (Table A). Among the smaller States in the West, Utah rose 2,600 to 62,500, Idaho gained 800 to 29,000, Nevada and New Mexico gained 700 to 49,500 and 31,700 respectively, and Alaska rose 600 to 18,300. Hawaii fell 2,000 to 16,300 (Table 3).

The Midwest experienced a January increase of 41,100. The largest increase occurred in Ohio (up 13,400 to 200,600). Illinois followed with a gain of 8,500 to 214,000. Minnesota rose 4,300 to 131,800. Michigan gained 4,000 to 172,100. Missouri rose 3,900 to 90,700. Wisconsin inched up 200 to 111,900. Among the smaller States in the region, Iowa increased by 3,800 to 71,900, Kansas was up 2,400 to 47,000, Nebraska gained 1,700 to 44,800, and Indiana increased by 1,500 to 85,300. North Dakota and South Dakota gained 400 and 300 respectively.

The Northeast rose 24,300. New York experienced the largest rise, 11,400, to 308,800. Pennsylvania gained 4,900 to 212,100. Massachusetts rose 4,600 to 158,900. New Jersey gained 1,000 to 144,800. In the smaller States, Connecticut increased 2,900 to 72,900, Rhode Island gained 1,500 to 22,100, and Vermont rose 200 to 13,700. New Hampshire fell 1,300 to 26,000, and Maine slipped 200 to 28,500.

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 over 3 unemployed workers for every job opening, and Louisiana (2.53) and Alabama (2.37), which had over 2 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 January, 46 metro areas posted gains and 6 declined (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In January, labor demand was up in 46 of the 52 largest metro areas and 6 declined. The MSAs with the largest gains in each of the regions were: Los Angeles (+10,400) in the West; New York (+8,000) in the Northeast; Washington, DC (+6,400) in the South; and Chicago (+4,600) in the Midwest (See Table B and Table 5).

The South experienced the largest January increase, 46,900, led by Washington, DC, which rose 6,400 to 150,300. Dallas rose 4,500 to 125,900. Atlanta and Miami increased 4,000 to 100,300 and 79,200 respectively. Houston gained 3,800 to 102,200. Baltimore rose 2,500 to 55,800. Nashville gained 3,400 to 35,700, Tampa gained 3,100 to 47,700, Orlando increased 2,400 to 35,000, and San Antonio rose 1,900 to 34,300.

The West gained 44,000, led by Los Angeles, which rose 10,400 to 179,300. Seattle-Tacoma followed with an increase of 3,400 to 85,700. Phoenix and San Francisco rose 2,800 to 70,900 and 122,100 respectively. Denver gained 2,300 to 73,900. San Jose increased 2,200 to 54,200. San Diego rose 2,100 to 48,300. Portland gained 2,500 to 49,100, Salt Lake City rose 1,200 to 36,600, and Sacramento increased 1,000 to 29,900.

The Midwest rose 41,100 in January. The largest increase was in Chicago, which gained 4,600 to 162,400, followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul’s gain of 2,700 to 89,800. Detroit increased 2,600 to 79,500, and Cleveland rose 1,800 to 37,500. Kansas City increased by 2,900 to 41,900, St. Louis gained 2,400 to 43,300, Cincinnati rose 2,300 to 36,200, and Columbus increased by 2,100 to 39,900. Indianapolis dropped 400 to 31,100.

The Northeast gained 24,300, reflecting an increase of 8,000 in New York to 288,100. Boston rose 3,200 to 123,100, and Philadelphia gained 1,500 to 100,700. Pittsburgh rose 1,300 to 44,900. Hartford, Providence, and Buffalo rose 1,200 to 28,900, 28,100, and 22,000 respectively. Rochester increased 600 to 17,300.

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 November data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 6 major metro areas (Salt Lake City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, Oklahoma City, San Jose, and San Francisco) saw more job openings than unemployed workers (S/D rates of 0.63, 0.76, 0.81, 0.96, 0.96, and 0.99 respectively) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Austin (1.01), and Columbus (1.05).

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 41 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 January all 10 of the largest online job categories posted increases (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of January

In January, all occupations but Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance occupations posted increases. Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance fell from 113,100 to 111,400. The largest increase in January was in Office and Administrative Support ads, which increased 29,200 to 591,500. Gains were seen across Florida, Ohio, New York, and California. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.66, i.e. about 2 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads increased 27,200 in January to 364,100. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.86, i.e. about 2 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening. Sales and related ads rose 21,300 to 580,500. Florida, Texas, California and New York all saw increases. Management ads increased 14,000 to 482,400. Both New York and Florida had healthy gains. Business and Financial ads increased 12,400 to 337,300 as gains were seen in California and New York. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.71, i.e. about 1.4 advertised available openings for every job-seeker.

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical ads gained 11,800 in January to 565,700. Both Texas and Florida showed healthy increases in demand. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.30, i.e. about 3.3 advertised available openings for every job-seeker. (See Table 7 for Supply/Demand rates for all of the SOC categories.)


HWOL 2015 Annual Revision

With the January 2015 press release, the HWOL program has incorporated its annual revision, which helps ensure the accuracy and consistency of the HWOL time series. This year's annual revision includes updates to the job-board coverage, a revision of the historical data from January 2011 forward, and the annual update of the seasonal adjustment factors. The 2015 revision has resulted in smoother seasonally adjusted series with most levels and trends relatively consistent with the prior series.

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 2014

March 4
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, March 4, 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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