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 157,700 in July

02 Aug. 2017

  • The June and July losses offset the May gain
  • Loss widespread across virtually all States and MSAs
  • Most occupations showed losses over the month

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies decreased 157,700 to 4,605,700 in July, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The June Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.46 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.2 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.0 million in June.

The Professional occupational category saw losses in Computer and Math (-20.7) and Management (-6.0). The Services/Production occupational category saw losses in Sales (-27.3), Office and Administrative Support (-16,5), and Food Preparation (-7.7).

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, 19 of the 20 States decreased
  • Among the 50 States, 5 increased, 44 declined, and 1 was constant
    (See pdf Table A)

July Changes for States

In July, online labor demand grew in 5 States and declined in 44 States, while 1 remained constant. All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 31,900 in July (Table A). Missouri decreased 7,900 to 93,400 and Illinois fell 6,000 to 178,400. Michigan decreased 7,500 to 136,800. Ohio increased 100 to 165,400. Minnesota decreased 4,100 to 129,700 and Wisconsin decreased 3,600 to 102,500. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 3,000 to 78,500 and Iowa decreased 1,200 to 56,100. Nebraska fell 700 to 28,500 and South Dakota increased 300 to 11,500. Kansas decreased 2,100 to 36,900 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 27,800 in July. New York decreased 6,800 to 274,400. New Jersey decreased 5,300 to 148,200. Massachusetts decreased 4,200 to 139,900. Pennsylvania decreased 4,600 to 196,400. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 3,600 to 66,300. Maine increased 100 to 17,400 and New Hampshire decreased 100 to 23,900. Rhode Island decreased 200 to 15,500 and Vermont fell 200 to 10,600.

The West decreased 42,400 in July. California decreased 20,500 to 529,200 and Washington decreased 6,200 to 145,900. Colorado decreased 2,600 to 116,700. Arizona decreased 4,400 to 91,900. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 1,800 to 70,800. Utah decreased 1,900 to 45,200. Nevada decreased 2,000 to 44,300. Idaho fell 600 to 22,100 and New Mexico decreased 900 to 23,900. Montana fell 300 to 19,400 and Hawaii remained constant at 19,800.

The South decreased 53,300 in July. Among the larger States in the region, Florida decreased 7,900 to 240,400. Texas decreased 6,700 to 307,700. North Carolina fell 7,200 to 131,300. Virginia fell 4,800 to 146,400. Georgia decreased 4,800 to 145,500. Maryland decreased 1,700 to 98,200. Among the smaller States, Tennessee decreased 2,900 to 78,000 and South Carolina increased 3,600 to 59,900. Alabama fell 1,500 to 47,300. Kentucky decreased 600 to 42,800 and Oklahoma decreased 1,500 to 38,300. Louisiana fell 2,100 to 39,700 and Delaware decreased 100 to 16,100.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for June 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: Colorado (0.56), North Dakota (0.63), Minnesota (0.83), New Hampshire (0.90), Wisconsin (0.91), Iowa (0.94), Hawaii (0.96), and Nebraska (0.98). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.75), Mississippi (2.51), and Kentucky (2.45) 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 July, 19 of the 20 largest metro areas declined
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 4 rose, 47 declined, and 1 was constant
    (See pdf Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In July, labor demand rose in 4 metro areas, declined in 47 metro areas, and 1 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (-5,600), and Detroit (-4,700) in the Midwest; Los Angeles (-4,800) and Seattle-Tacoma (-4,600) in the West; Washington D.C., (-4,400) and Charlotte (-3,700) in the South; and New York (-10,800) and Boston (-3,500) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 42,200 in July. Los Angeles decreased 4,800 to 159,900 and Seattle-Tacoma fell 4,600 to 97,900. San Francisco decreased 2,200 to 106,200. Denver decreased 1,000 to 68,800 and San Jose decreased 1,700to 53,800. Phoenix decreased 2,400 to 64,500 and Portland fell 1,800 to 45,400. Sacramento fell 1,100 to 27,800 and Salt Lake City decreased 600 to 24,200. Honolulu increased 300 to 12,900 and Las Vegas fell 1,000 to 28,300.

The South decreased 53,300 in July. Washington DC fell 4,400 to 141,600. Miami decreased 2,800 to 64,500 and Charlotte decreased 3,700 to 43,000. Dallas fell 2,700 to 105,900 and Atlanta decreased 3,500 to 98,400. Houston decreased 1,800 to 61,100. Orlando decreased 1,200 to 33,900. Tampa decreased 2,100 to 42,800 and Birmingham fell 1,000 to 12,900. Baltimore decreased 300 to 52,800 San Antonio fell 700 to 27,500. Nashville decreased 1,100 to 34,500. New Orleans fell 900 to 14,900. Louisville decreased 700 to 17,200.

The Northeast decreased 27,800 in July. New York decreased 10,800 to 279,000 and Boston fell 3,500 to 107,300. Philadelphia decreased 1,900 to 97,300. Pittsburgh increased 200 to 39,900. Providence decreased 400 to 20,300. Buffalo decreased 500 to 16,500. Hartford decreased 700 to 26,700 and Rochester decreased 200 to 13,900.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 31,900 in July. Chicago decreased 5,600 to 142,100. Detroit decreased 4,700 to 66,700 and St. Louis fell 3,000 to 46,000. Minneapolis-St. Paul decreased 3,100 to 90,500. Columbus decreased 400 to 35,800 and Cincinnati increased 300 to 35,300. Kansas City decreased 3,000 to 39,900 and Cleveland grew 300 to 31,300. Milwaukee decreased 600 to 32,800. Indianapolis decreased 1,000 to 31,100.

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 May’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 (0.73), Nashville (0.73), Seattle-Tacoma (0.73), San Francisco (0.78), Milwaukee (0.82), Washington, DC (0.85), Indianapolis (0.87), Salt Lake City (0.89), Boston (0.94), and Honolulu (0.98) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Portland (1.00), Kansas City (1.01), and Austin (1.01).

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 48 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 July, all of the largest ten online occupational categories posted decreases (See pdf Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of July

In July, all the largest ten online occupational categories posted decreases.

Computer and mathematical science ads decreased 20,700 to 510,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.21, i.e. over 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Management ads decreased 6,000 to 401,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.80, i.e. over 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Sales and related ads decreased 27,300 to 461,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.62, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads decreased 16,500 to 482,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.51, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Food preparation and serving related ads decreased 7,700 to 223,200. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 2.82, more than 2 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Installation, maintenance, and repair ads decreased 6,900 to 194,300. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.93, 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

August 30, 2017
October 4, 2017
November 1, 2017
December 6, 2017

The next release is Wednesday, August 30 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