The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

This data series provides timely monthly measures of labor demand (advertised vacancies) at the national, regional, state, and metropolitan area levels.

Online Labor Demand Decreased 115,300 in November

30 Nov. 2016

  • The November loss followed an October gain of 116,100
  • Most States showed losses with only a few showing small gains
  • The Professional occupations were all down while the Services/Production occupations were mixed

  Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies decreased 115,300 to 4,723,000 in November, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The October Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.61 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 2.9 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.8 million in October.

“With a pattern of monthly gains followed by losses, online demand has shown little movement in the second half of 2016,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “The current data clearly indicate that 2016 will end with a large loss for the year.”

The Professional occupational category saw large losses in Management (−16.6), Business/Finance (−15.1), Computer/Math (−27.7) and Health (&ninus;21.2). The Services/Production category saw small gains in several occupational groups but large losses in Sales (−24.3) and Office/Admin (−21.5). 




  • Among the largest States, 1 rose and 19 declined
  • Among the 50 States, 4 rose, 45 declined, and 1 was constant

November Changes for States

In November, online labor demand was up in 4 States, down in 45, and constant in 1 (see Table 3). All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 40,000 in November (Table A). Illinois fell 9,000 to 171,100. Michigan decreased 6,600 to 146,300. Minnesota decreased 6,100 to 126,200. Ohio decreased 4,700 to 166,900. Wisconsin decreased 3,300 to 97,500 and Missouri decreased 2,100 to 102,100.Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 4,500 to 74,400, Iowa decreased 3,200 to 55,900, Nebraska fell 1,500 to 31,000, and North Dakota decreased 200 to 16,400. Kansas decreased 2,500 to 38,600 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 19,600 in November. New Jersey decreased 6,300 to 141,800. New York decreased 5,700 to 283,300. Pennsylvania decreased 5,100 to 192,800. Massachusetts decreased 2,600 to 141,300. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 400 to 65,300. Maine remained constant at 16,700 and New Hampshire increased 200 to 23,500. Rhode Island decreased 300 to 14,900 and Vermont fell 700 to 10,500.

The West decreased 31,600 in November. California decreased 13,100 to 545,100. Washington decreased 3,700 to 155,600 and Colorado decreased 900 to 122,600. Arizona decreased 4,100 to 95,900. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 1,500 to 73,900. Utah decreased 4,200 to 53,300. Nevada decreased 700 to 45,500. Idaho decreased 1,100 to 22,700 and New Mexico decreased 1,400 to 24,500. Montana decreased 500 to 19,300 and Wyoming decreased 300 to 6,900.  

The South decreased 40,200 in November. Among the larger States in the region, Texas decreased 13,600, to 321,500. Florida increased 1,200 to 244,400. Georgia decreased 5,800 to 146,200. Virginia fell 6,900 to 143,200. North Carolina decreased 300 to 128,100. Maryland decreased 1,700 to 101,800. Among the smaller States, Alabama fell 300 to 46,500. Tennessee decreased 1,600 to 80,900 and South Carolina decreased 100 to 59,000. Kentucky decreased 2,900 to 43,600 and Oklahoma decreased 1,400 to 36,900. Louisiana fell 2,600 to 43,000 and Delaware decreased 900 to 15,900.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for October 2016, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 7 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: South Dakota (0.71), North Dakota (0.77), Colorado (0.82), Massachusetts (0.82), Utah (0.84), Minnesota (0.89), and New Hampshire (0.90). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.94), Mississippi (2.84), and Alabama (2.64), 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 November, among the 20 largest metro areas, 1 gained and 19 declined
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 8 rose, 42 declined, and 2 remained constant (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In November, labor demand rose in 8 metro areas, 42 declined, and 2 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (−6,400) and Minneapolis-St Paul (−2,700) in the Midwest; Phoenix (−2,600) and San Francisco (−2,500) in the West; Houston (−4,100) and Atlanta (−3,900) in the South; and Philadelphia (−3,800) and Boston (−2,200) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 31,600 in November. Phoenix decreased 2,600 to 67,200 and San Francisco deceased 2,500 to 109,500. Los Angeles decreased 2,200 to 167,000. Salt Lake City decreased 2,500 to 30,400. Denver increased 400 to 73,700. Seattle-Tacoma decreased 200 to 101,400 and San Jose decreased 2,100to 51,900. San Diego decreased 500 to 48,900. Portland increased 400 to 47,500 and Sacramento remained constant at 28,700. Honolulu increased 600 to 14,300 and Las Vegas fell 400 to 30,300.

The South decreased 40,200 in November. Houston decreased 4,100 to 60,800 and Atlanta decreased 3,900 to 96,800. Washington DC fell 3,400 to 149,700 and Dallas decreased 1,800 to 109,100. Miami decreased 100 to 66,300. Baltimore decreased 200 to 52,200 and Austin decreased 1,200 to 40,300. Tampa decreased 400 to 45,600 and Charlotte increased 200 to 36,900. San Antonio decreased 500 to 30,200 and Nashville decreased 1,100 to 32,700. Birmingham grew 500 to 14,000. New Orleans fell 900 to 15,700. Louisville decreased 600 to 16,900.

The Northeast decreased 19,600 in November. Philadelphia decreased 3,800 to 96,300 and Boston fell 2,200 to 108,000. New York decreased 2,000 to 281,700. Pittsburgh remained constant at 38,800 and Providence decreased 200 to 21,000. Buffalo decreased 1,500 to 15,600. Hartford decreased 200 to 26,000 and Rochester decreased 700 to 13,500.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 40,000 in November. Chicago decreased 6,400 to 133,800 and Minneapolis-St. Paul decreased 2,700 to 88,500. Detroit decreased 1,700 to 70,200 and St. Louis fell 1,500 to 48,500. Columbus decreased 600 to 35,600 and Cincinnati decreased 1,300 to 34,700. Kansas City decreased 600 to 42,200 and Cleveland fell 1,000 to 30,400. Milwaukee decreased 1,100 to 27,400. Indianapolis decreased 1,400 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 September’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 9 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Salt Lake City (S/D rate of 0.57), Denver (0.70), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.75), Boston (0.76), San Jose (0.80), Washington, DC (0.87), San Francisco (0.91), Seattle-Tacoma (.94), and Austin (0.98) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Honolulu (1.01), Nashville (1.15),  Kansas City (1.25), and Baltimore (1.25).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (4 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston and Memphis (over 2 unemployed for every opening). In 44 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 November, nine of the largest ten online occupational categories posted decreases (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of November

In November, nine of the ten largest online occupational categories posted decreases.

Computer and mathematical science ads decreased 27,700 to 501,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.25, i.e. 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker.

Healthcare practitioners and technical ads decreased 21,200 to 610,600. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.21, i.e. over 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Management ads decreased 16,600 to 407,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.02 i.e. 1 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Sales and related ads decreased 24,300 to 461,800. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.55, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads decreased 21,500 to 486,500. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.45, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Construction and extraction ads increased 6,400 to 126,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 5.66, i.e. over 5 unemployed job-seeker 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,


The Conference Board

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WANTED Analytics, a CEB Company

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:



Haver Analytics is the premier provider of time series data for the Global Strategy and Research community. Haver Analytics was founded in 1978 as a consulting firm and today provides the highest quality data and software for industry professionals. Haver provides products and services to clients in financial services, government, academia and various industry groups from consulting to manufacturing. From more information please see:

Release Dates for 2017

January 4, 2017
February 1, 2017
March 8, 2017
April 5, 2017
May 3, 2017
May 31, 2017
July 5, 2017
August 2, 2017
August 30, 2017
October 4, 2017
November 1, 2017
December 6, 2017

The next release is January 4 at 10 AM ET.

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


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Download related PDFs

Press Release
With graph and summary table

National Historical Table (Complimentary)

Technical Notes
Underlying detail, diffusion indexes, components, contributions and graphs