The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Decreased 93,800 in September

05 Oct. 2016

  • The September loss followed little change in August
  • The majority of the loss was concentrated in the West and Midwest regions
  • The Professional category showed larger losses with Services/Production showing a mixture of gains and losses


Download the complimentary National Historical Table.


Online advertised vacancies decreased 93,800 to 4,722,300 in September, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The August Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.63 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 3.0 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.8 million in August.

“The third quarter showed a small gain of 64,800 following large losses in the second quarter,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “There has been no sign of a bounceback from the sudden steep losses in May and June.”

The Professional category saw large losses in Computer/Math (−17.8) and Healthcare (−23.7) with the other areas primarily also showing losses. The Services/Production category saw large losses in Sales (−22.1) and Transportation (−12.0) with a mixture of smaller gains and losses in other areas.


  • Among the largest States, 2 rose and 18 posted a loss
  • Among the 50 States, 8 rose, 41 States declined, and 1 was constant

September Changes for States

In September, online labor demand was up in 8 States (see Table 3), down in 41, and remained constant in 1. All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 39,100 in September (Table A). Ohio decreased 5,900 to 162,000.  Illinois fell 5,300 to 175,300. Michigan fell 3,800 to 145,400. Minnesota decreased 4,400 to 128,800. Wisconsin decreased 2,100 to 98,600 and Missouri decreased 1,500 to 100,400.Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 2,700 to 76,600, and Iowa decreased 3,700 to 56,000, Nebraska fell 2,600 to 31,900, and North Dakota increased 400 to 15,500. Kansas increased 600 to 39,400 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 18,400 in September. Massachusetts decreased 5,900 to 139,800. Pennsylvania decreased 4,100 to 192,300. New York fell 2,500 to 271,300. New Jersey decreased 100 to 143,000. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 1,800 to 62,200. Maine decreased 1,000 to 16,800 and New Hampshire declined 1,000 to 22,400. Rhode Island decreased 500 to 14,500 and Vermont fell 100 to 10,300.  

The West decreased 36,600 in September. California decreased 17,600 to 547,000. Washington decreased 10,100 to 150,000 and Colorado decreased 2,300 to 120,300. Arizona decreased 2,200 to 97,700. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 1,400 to 74,800. Utah decreased 300 to 56,400. Nevada increased 400 to 44,700. Idaho increased 300 to 23,800 and New Mexico decreased 600 to 25,000. Montana decreased 100 to 19,400 and Wyoming decreased 100 to 6,900.  

The South decreased 19,400 in September. Among the larger States in the region, Texas fell 9,800, to 320,900. Florida decreased 1,100 to 247,700. Georgia increased 4,800 to 149,500. Virginia fell 4,000 to 149,100. North Carolina increased 200 to 127,400. Maryland decreased 1,200 to 99,600. Among the smaller States, Alabama remained constant at 45,900. Tennessee decreased 2,800 to 79,300 and Kentucky decreased 1,800 to 46,500. South Carolina decreased 800 to 58,100 and Oklahoma increased 300 to 37,100. Louisiana grew 200 to 42,500 and Delaware decreased 200 to 15,800.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for August 2016, 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: South Dakota (0.73), North Dakota (0.86), Colorado (0.89), Minnesota (0.91), Nebraska (0.94), New Hampshire (0.96), Utah (0.97) and Massachusetts (0.97). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (3.17), which had more than three unemployed workers for every job opening, and Mississippi (2.93), Alabama (2.54) and Oklahoma (2.50), 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 September, 11 rose, 39 metro areas declined, and 2 were constant (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In September, labor demand rose in 11 metro areas, 39 fell, and 2 were constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (−4,800) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (−3,900) in the Midwest; Seattle-Tacoma (−5,400) and San Francisco (−5,300) in the West; Washington DC (−6,000) and Dallas (−3,500) in the South; and Boston (−4,200) and Philadelphia (−2,100) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 36,600 in September. Seattle-Tacoma decreased 5,400 to 97,700 and San Francisco fell 5,300 to 111,100. Los Angeles decreased 3,300 to 165,700 and Denver decreased 1,700 to 71,000. San Jose decreased 1,200to 53,500. Phoenix decreased 1,100 to 68,200. San Diego increased 100 to 48,900. Portland decreased 1,100 to 46,100. Sacramento decreased 1,200 to 27,300 and Honolulu decreased 300 to 13,400. Las Vegas and Tucson both remained constant at 29,300 and 11,900, respectively.

The South decreased 19,400 in September. Washington DC fell 6,000 to 148,000 and Dallas decreased 3,500 to 107,500. Miami decreased 1,800 to 68,800. Baltimore decreased 700 to 51,400 and Atlanta increased 2,800 to 98,600. Houston decreased 2,600 to 62,700 and Austin added 400 to 38,600. Tampa decreased 800 to 46,100 and Charlotte increased 1,200 to 36,500. San Antonio fell 500 to 29,500 and Nashville increased 400 to 33,200. Birmingham decreased 400 to 13,500. New Orleans gained 200 to 16,000. Louisville decreased 1,600 to 17,000.

The Northeast decreased 18,400 in September. Boston fell 4,200 to 107,600. Philadelphia decreased 2,100 to 95,500 and New York decreased 700 to 266,500. Pittsburgh fell 600 to 38,100 and Providence decreased 700 to 20,400. Buffalo decreased 400 to 16,300. Hartford decreased 700 to 24,800 and Rochester increased 100 to 13,600.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 39,100 in September. Chicago decreased 4,800 to 135,600 and Minneapolis-St. Paul decreased 3,900 to 89,400. St. Louis fell 800 to 48,600 and Detroit decreased 2,400 to 68,800. Milwaukee decreased 1,000 to 28,100. Columbus gained 400 to 35,000 and Cincinnati decreased 1,200 to 35,300. Kansas City decreased 800 to 40,900 and Indianapolis decreased 1,100 to 28,600. Cleveland fell 400 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 July’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 0.66), Denver (0.73), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.74), San Jose (0.79), Washington, DC (0.81), Boston (0.81), Austin (0.90), Seattle-Tacoma (.90), and San Francisco (0.91) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Honolulu (1.02), Nashville (1.02), Columbus (1.13), Kansas City (1.20), Cincinnati (1.20), and Dallas (1.22).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (over 4 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston and Las Vegas (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 September, 2 of the largest ten online job categories posted increases and 8 posted decreases (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of September

In September, of all the largest online job boards, two online job board categories posted increases.

Healthcare practitioners and technical ads decreased 23,700 to 619,600. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.24, i.e. 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Computer and mathematical science ads decreased 17,800 to 517,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.21, i.e. over 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker.

Business and finance ads decreased 9,000 to 283,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.85, i.e. more than 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Management ads decreased 7,200 to 414,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.00, i.e. 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Sales and related ads decreased 22,100 to 465,200. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.66, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation and material moving ads decreased 12,000 to 305,600. The supply/demand rate lies at 2.38, i.e. over 2 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Food preparation and serving related ads increased 3,700 to 241,200. The supply/demand rate lies at 2.61, i.e. over 2 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

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 2016

November 2
November 30

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, November 2 at 10:00 AM ET.

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232


Member Exclusive
The Conference Board Help Wanted Online® Members Login
Download related PDFs

Press Release
With graph and summary table

National Historical Table (Complimentary)

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