The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Declines 138,500 in September

30 Sep. 2015

  • Following 2 months of increases, labor demand drops in September
  •  September losses were spread across most States
  •  US Supply/Demand rate continues to improve as demand remains strong and unemployment falls

Download the complimentary National Historical Table

To purchase historical Help Wanted OnLine data, call Haver Analytics
+1 212 986 9300

To purchase detailed Help Wanted OnLine data for local areas, contact Jeanne Shu at
+1 212 339 0491

Online advertised vacancies declined 138,500 to 5,280,200 in September, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The August Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.48 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 2.6 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 8.0 million in August.

“The third quarter of 2015 closed with a small over-the-quarter decline of 21,000,”  said Gad Levanon, Managing Director of Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research at The Conference Board. “Labor demand in 2015 started with a very strong first quarter, followed by losses in the second quarter and an essentially flat third quarter, leaving the average monthly increases in 2015 at a modest 18,000 per month. While the number of ads flattened in recent months, it remains at a very high level, suggesting a strong labor demand.”

In September, the Professional category showed gains in Computer/Math (+11.1), Healthcare Practitioners (+7.1) and Management (+3.9) with losses in the other areas. The Services/Production category saw losses in all areas including Office and Administration (−20.3), Food (−13.0) and Transportation (−11.7).



  • 5 of the 20 largest States posted gains in September and 15 declined
  • Among the 50 States, 7 States rose and 43 declined


September Changes for States

In September, online labor demand was up in 7 States (see Table 3) and down in 43. All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 41,600 in September (Table A). Missouri decreased 4,500 to 90,300. Michigan fell 3,800 to 179,900. Illinois gained 900 to 212,400. Ohio fell 2,600 to 194,700. Wisconsin decreased 6,700 to 112,300 and Minnesota fell 3,200 to 130,800. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana fell 1,300 to 89,000, and Kansas dropped 3,100 to 45,700. Iowa decreased 4,300 to 64,900, Nebraska fell 7,200 to 39,600, and North Dakota fell 1,600 to 17,800 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 10,000 in September. New York fell 11,900, to 318,800, the largest change in the region. New Jersey rose 7,100 to 159,500. Massachusetts gained 1,600 to 170,000. Pennsylvania slipped 600 to 219,600. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 1,500 to 76,700. Vermont gained 900 to 12,800 and New Hampshire fell 600 to 25,500. Rhode Island decreased 400 to 20,700 and Maine fell 1,200 to 24,300.

The West decreased 36,500 in September. California had the largest increase of the region with a gain of 5,000 to 620,000. Washington fell 13,200 to 132,300. Arizona followed, with a decrease of 5,700 to 101,000. Colorado slipped 700 to 135,300. Among the smaller States in theWest, Utah fell 2,500 to 62,600. Idaho fell 2,800 to 26,400, New Mexico fell 3,800 to 28,200, and Oregon fell 3,900 to 78,100. Nevada declined 2,000 to 45,200 and Hawaii dropped 500 to 18,600. Montana declined 1,300 to 20,400.

The South experienced the largest decrease of 62,500. Among larger States in the region, Texas fell 13,200, to 376,000. Georgia decreased 10,000 to 155,900. Florida lost 6,700 to 267,500. North Carolina slipped 400 to 143,500. Virginia dropped 2,000 to 152,000. Maryland gained 4,100 to 108,800. Among the smaller States, Alabama fell 2,600 to 54,800; Louisiana dropped 4,000 to 50,500; and Tennessee fell 4,800 to 89,400. Both Kentucky decreased 2,700 to 54,000 and Mississippi fell 3,300 to 25,900. South Carolina decreased 2,600 to 65,500. Oklahoma decreased 4,300 to 41,100 and Delaware fell 1,300 to 18,800.


Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for August 2015, 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: Nebraska (0.61), North Dakota (0.61), Utah (0.82), South Dakota (0.86), Colorado (0.87), Minnesota (0.89), Iowa (0.90), and Massachusetts (.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (2.71) and West Virginia (2.70), where there were nearly three unemployed workers for every job opening, and Louisiana (2.40) and Alabama (2.30), 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, 25 metro areas rose, 26 declined, and 1 remained constant (Nashville) (Table 5)


Metro Area Changes

In September, labor demand rose in 25 of the 52 largest metro areas, fell in 26, and remained unchanged in 1 (Nashville). The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (+5,700) and Cleveland (+2,100) in the Midwest; San Francisco (+5,600) and Los Angeles (+5,100) in the West; Houston (−3,700) and Atlanta (−3,000) in the South; and Boston (+1,700) and New York (+1,500) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West fell 36,500. San Francisco rose 5,600 to 132,300. Los Angeles increased 5,100 to 185,600. San Jose gained 2,300 to 59,100. San Diego gained 300 to 49,800. Denver gained 1,800 to 78,400. Seattle-Tacoma fell 3,000 to 90,500. Riverside lost 3,700 to 37,100. Phoenix added 1,000 to 69,400. Salt Lake City inched up 600 to 37,100, and Portland decreased 1,600 to 48,300.

The South decreased 62,500. Houston fell 3,700 to 80,200 and Atlanta declined 3,000 to 104,200. Baltimore gained 2,700 to 58,000 and Washington, DC grew 2,600 to 158,900. New Orleans decreased 1,200 to 18,400 and Dallas fell 1,100 to 124,300. Miami gained 2,000 to 78,200. Oklahoma City lost 1,000 to 16,900 and Tampa fell 800 to 47,600. San Antonio grew 700 to 31,200 while Orlando declined 400 to 34,100.

The Northeast decreased 10,000. Boston rose 1,700 to 128,700. New York and Philadelphia both gained 1,500 to 300,100 and 109,600, respectively. Buffalo fell 1,100 to 23,000 while Rochester lost 800 to 19,000.

Pittsburgh gained 700 to 41,500. Both Hartford and Providence dropped 300 to 29,900 and 28,000.

The Midwest fell 41,600. Chicago gained 5,700 to 165,500 and Cleveland gained 2,100 to 37,300. Columbus added 1,800 to 40,600. Cincinnati fell 1,700 to 39,500. Kansas City declined 1,400 to 40,000 and St. Louis fell 1,100 to 44,100. Both Detroit and Indianapolis decreased 1,000 to 85,100 and 31,500 respectively. Minneapolis-St. Paul inched up 600 to 90,500. Milwaukee lost 500 to 31,200.

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 July data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), nine major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Salt Lake City (S/D rate of 0.61), Austin (0.75), San Jose (0.76), Denver (0.78), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.79), San Francisco (0.85), Boston (0.88), Washington, DC (0.92), and Seattle-Tacoma (0.93) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Columbus (1.05), Hartford (1.06), and Honolulu (1.06).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (over 3 unemployed for every opening) as well as Las Vegas and Memphis (over 2 unemployed for every opening). In 45 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, 3 of the largest online job categories posted increases while 7 posted decreases (Table C)


Occupational Changes for the Month of September

In September, 3 of the largest online job categories posted increases while 7 posted declines.

Computer and Mathematical Science ads rose 11,100 to 601,200. The supply/demand rate lies at .22, i.e. over 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7). Healthcare practitioners and technical ads rose 7,100 to 623,000. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at .23, i.e. about 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker. Management ads gained 3,900 to 495,700. The supply/demand rate lies at .69, i.e. about 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Office and Administrative Support ads declined 20,300, to 560,200. Their supply/demand rate is 1.43, i.e. about one unemployed per opening. Food and preparation and serving related ads fell 13,000 to 228,000. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 2.77, i.e. over two unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening. Transportation ads declined 11,700 to 401,700. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.52, i.e. over one unemployed job-seekers 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 Technologies Corporation

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 2015

November 4
December 2

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4 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