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 Job Ads Decreased 125,900 in August

30 Aug. 2017

  • Loss widespread across most States and MSAs
  • Majority of occupations showed losses over the month

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies decreased 125,900 to 4,479,800 in August, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The July Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.52 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.4 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.0 million in July.

The Professional occupational category saw losses in Education (-13.9) and Computer and Math (-11.3). The Services/Production occupational category saw losses in Sales (-33.7), Office and Administrative Support (-29.3), and Installation (-11.5).

NOTE: Recently, the HWOL Data Series has experienced a declining trend in the number of online job ads that may not reflect broader trends in the U.S. labor market. Based on changes in how job postings appear online, The Conference Board is reviewing its HWOL methodology to ensure accuracy and alignment with market trends.


  • Among the largest States, all 20 States decreased
  • Among the 50 States, 4 increased and 46 declined
    (See pdf Table A)

August Changes for States

In August, online labor demand grew in 4 States and declined in 46 States. All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 41,500 in August (Table A). Missouri decreased 16,000 to 77,300 and Illinois fell 6,000 to 172,400. Ohio decreased 8,900 to 156,400. Michigan decreased 3,900 to 132,900.  Minnesota decreased 3,500 to 126,200 and Wisconsin decreased 3,200 to 99,300. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana increased 700 to 79,200 and Iowa decreased 200 to 55,800. Nebraska fell 1,300 to 27,200 and South Dakota decreased 100 to 11,300. Kansas increased 400 to 37,400 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 27,400 in August. New Jersey decreased 6,300 to 141,900. Massachusetts decreased 7,800 to 132,000. New York decreased 3,800 to 270,500. Pennsylvania decreased 5,500 to 190,900. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 900 to 65,400. Maine increased 300 to 17,700 and New Hampshire decreased 1,700 to 22,200. Rhode Island decreased 1,200 to 14,300 and Vermont fell 200 to 10,400.

The West decreased 28,800 in August. California decreased 11,300 to 517,900 and Washington decreased 4,600 to 141,300. Colorado decreased 5,600 to 111,000. Arizona decreased 2,700 to 89,200. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 1,700 to 69,100. Utah decreased 500 to 44,700. Nevada decreased 1,000 to 43,400. Idaho fell 400 to 21,700 and New Mexico decreased 600 to 23,300. Montana fell 300 to 19,100 and Hawaii decreased 1,100 to 18,700.

The South decreased 42,900 in August. Among the larger States in the region, Florida decreased 8,500 to 232,000. Texas decreased 7,500 to 300,200. North Carolina fell 7,200 to 124,000. Virginia fell 1,000 to 145,400. Georgia decreased 4,800 to 140,700. Maryland decreased 3,800 to 94,400. Among the smaller States, Tennessee decreased 2,000 to 76,000 and South Carolina decreased 2,900 to 57,000. Alabama fell 100 to 47,200. Kentucky decreased 1,700 to 41,100 and Oklahoma decreased 800 to 37,500. Louisiana fell 2,100 to 37,500 and Delaware decreased 800 to 15,300.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for July 2017, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 8 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: North Dakota (0.59), Colorado (0.61), Minnesota (0.87), New Hampshire (0.87), Hawaii (0.94), Iowa (0.97), Wisconsin (0.98), and Nebraska (0.98). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.77), Mississippi (2.67), and Kentucky (2.58) 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 August, 19 of the 20 largest metro areas declined; one remained constant
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 4 rose, 47 declined, and 1 was constant
    (See pdf Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In August, labor demand rose in 2 metro areas, declined in 49 metro areas, and 1 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: St. Louis (-6,500) and Chicago (-5,900) in the Midwest; San Francisco (-4,500) and Seattle-Tacoma (-4,400) in the West; Atlanta (-5,300) and Washington D.C. (-5,100) in the South; and Boston (-5,900) and New York (-5,400) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 28,800 in August. San Francisco decreased 4,500 to 101,700. Los Angeles decreased 2,900 to 157,000 and Seattle-Tacoma fell 4,400 to 93,500. Denver decreased 4,100 to 64,700 and San Jose remained constant at 53,800. Riverside grew 500 to 31,000. Phoenix decreased 2,700 to 61,800 and Portland fell 2,100 to 43,300. Sacramento fell 600 to 27,200 and Salt Lake City decreased 500 to 23,700. Honolulu decreased 200 to 12,700 and Las Vegas fell 1,000 to 27,300.

The South decreased 42,900 in August. Washington DC fell 5,100 to 136,500. Dallas fell 4,500 to 101,300 and Atlanta decreased 5,300 to 93,100. Miami decreased 2,000 to 62,500 and Charlotte decreased 2,600 to 40,300. Houston decreased 700 to 60,300. Orlando decreased 1,200 to 32,600. Tampa decreased 2,400 to 40,400 and Birmingham grew 400 to 13,300. Baltimore decreased 2,900 to 49,900 San Antonio fell 800 to 26,700. Nashville decreased 2,500 to 32,000. New Orleans fell 900 to 14,000. Louisville decreased 500 to 16,600.

The Northeast decreased 27,400 in August. New York decreased 5,400 to 273,600 and Boston fell 5,900 to 101,400. Philadelphia decreased 5,400 to 91,900. Pittsburgh decreased 1,200 to 38,700. Providence decreased 1,500 to 18,800. Buffalo decreased 400 to 16,000. Hartford decreased 1,000 to 25,700 and Rochester decreased 600 to 13,300.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 41,500 in August. Chicago decreased 5,900 to 136,200 and St. Louis fell 6,500 to 39,500. Detroit decreased 2,800 to 64,000. Minneapolis-St. Paul decreased 2,000 to 88,500. Columbus decreased 1,900 to 33,900 and Cincinnati decreased 1,700 to 33,600. Kansas City decreased 5,300 to 34,700 and Cleveland fell 2,300 to 29,000. Milwaukee decreased 900 to 31,800. Indianapolis decreased 900 to 30,200.

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 June’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 12 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Denver (S/D rate of 0.53), San Jose (0.64), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.71), Seattle-Tacoma (0.76), San Francisco (0.79), Nashville (0.80), Milwaukee (0.83), Washington, DC (0.85), Indianapolis (0.91), Salt Lake City (0.92), Boston (0.93), and Honolulu (0.97), Kansas City (0.98), and Austin (0.98) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Portland (1.04) and Charlotte (1.09).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (over 3 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston and Miami (over 2 unemployed for every opening). In 49 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 August, nine of the largest ten online occupational categories posted decreases
(See pdf Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of August

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

Computer and mathematical science ads decreased 11,300 to 498,700. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.19, i.e. over 5 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Education, training, and Library ads decreased 13,900 to 154,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.72, i.e. over 1 job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Sales and related ads decreased 33,700 to 427,700. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.45, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads decreased 29,300 to 452,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.55, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Food preparation and serving related ads decreased 9,400 to 213,800. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 2.47, more than 2 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Installation, maintenance, and repair ads decreased 11,500 to 182,700. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.71, i.e. over 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.


HWOL 2017 Annual Revision

With the February 2017 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 May 2005 forward, an update of the Metropolitan Statistical area definitions to 2015 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) county-based MSA definitions, and the annual update of the seasonal adjustment factors.

Special Note

Recently, the HWOL Data Series has experienced a declining trend in the number of online job ads that may not reflect broader trends in the U.S. labor market. Based on changes in how job postings appear online, The Conference Board is reviewing its HWOL methodology to ensure accuracy and alignment with market trends.

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 membershipand research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizationswith 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.

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

October 4, 2017
November 1, 2017
December 6, 2017

The next release is Wednesday, October 4 at 10 AM.

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