The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Increased 1,900 in August

31 Aug. 2016

  • August was essentially unchanged following a July increase of 156,800
  • States and MSAs saw little movement
  • Professional occupation category saw gains while Services/Production saw losses

  Download the complimentary National Historical Table 

Online advertised vacancies increased 1,900 to 4,816,100 in August, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The July Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.61 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 July.

“A flat August shows no sign of renewed strength in online advertised vacancies,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “The large losses in the first half of 2016 still dominate the downward trend for advertised vacancies in 2016.”

The Professional category saw gains in Management (+10.2), Business/Finance (+13.3), and Computer/Math (+6.4) with a drop in Healthcare (-8.7) following a large gain in July. The Services/Production category showed losses in Food (-15.5), Sales (-10.1) and Transportation (-7.5).


  • Among the largest States, 7 rose, 11 posted a loss, 2 were constant
  • Among the 50 States, 13 rose, 35 States declined, 2 were constant

August Changes for States

In August, online labor demand was up in 13 States (see Table 3), down in 35, and remained constant in 2. All four regions experienced decreases.

The Northeast decreased 12,300 in August (Table A). New York fell 1,600 to 273,900. Massachusetts decreased 1,200 to 145,700. Pennsylvania increased 2,100 to 196,400. New Jersey decreased 4,600 to 143,100. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 800 to 64,100. Maine decreased 4,200 to 17,800 and New Hampshire declined 800 to 23,400. Rhode Island decreased 100 to 15,000 and Vermont fell 500 to 10,400.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 1,200 in August. Missouri increased 2,200 to 101,800. Illinois fell 1,000 to 180,600. Michigan remained constant at 149,200. Ohio decreased 900 to 167,900. Wisconsin decreased 500 to 100,700 and Minnesota grew 2,100 to 133,200. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 1,100 to 79,300, and Kansas increased 700 to 38,800. Iowa decreased 800 to 59,700, Nebraska fell 900 to 34,500, and North Dakota decreased 400 to 15,100 (Table 3).

The West decreased 3,200 in August. California increased 5,500 to 564,600. Colorado increased 1,200 to 122,600. Washington decreased 3,400 to 160,000 and Arizona increased 1,600 to 99,900. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 700 to 76,200. Utah increased 100 to 56,700. Nevada decreased 700 to 44,200. Idaho decreased 100 to 23,500, and New Mexico decreased 800 to 25,600. Montana decreased 900 to 19,500 and Wyoming decreased 400 to 7,100.

The South decreased 18,900 in August. Among the larger States in the region, Texas fell 8,400, to 330,700. Florida decreased 4,400 to 248,800. Georgia decreased 1,300 to 144,700. North Carolina decreased 1,900 to 127,300. Virginia remained constant at 53,000.  Maryland grew 100 to 100,800. Among the smaller States, Alabama increased 200 to 45,900. Tennessee decreased 100 to 82,100 and Kentucky increased 700 to 48,400. South Carolina decreased 800 to 58,900 and Oklahoma decreased 1,400 to 36,900. Louisiana fell 400 to 42,300 and Delaware decreased 100 to 16,000.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for July 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 (0.85), Nebraska (0.88), Colorado (0.91), Minnesota (0.91), New Hampshire (0.91), and Massachusetts (0.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (3.15), which had more than three unemployed workers for every job opening, and Mississippi (2.95), Alabama (2.69) and Oklahoma (2.39), 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, 13 rose, 36 metro areas declined, and 3 were constant (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In August, labor demand rose in 13 metro areas, 36 fell, and 3 were constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: St. Louis (1,500) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (1,500) in the Midwest; San Francisco (4,600) and Seattle (-2,700) in the West; Dallas (-3,200) and San Antonio (-1,300) in the South; and New York
(-4,900) and Boston (-1,000) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 3,200 in August. San Francisco grew 4,600 to 116,500 and Seattle-Tacoma decreased 2,700 to 103,100. Los Angeles increased 1,400 to 169,100 and Denver increased 600 to 72,700. San Jose increased 200to 54,700. Phoenix decreased 300 to 69,200. San Diego decreased 900 to 48,700. Portland decreased 600 to 47,200. Sacramento decreased 200 to 28,500 and Salt Lake City decreased 500 to 32,600. Honolulu decreased 400 to 13,700. Las Vegas fell 1,000 to 29,300.

The South decreased 18,900 in August. Dallas decreased 3,200 to 111,000 and San Antonio fell 1,300 to 30,000. Miami grew 600 to 70,600. Washington, DC increased 400 to 154,000. Baltimore decreased 300 to 52,100 and Atlanta decreased 500 to 95,800. Houston decreased 1,200 to 65,300 and Austin fell 1,100 to 38,200. Tampa decreased 700 to 46,900 and Charlotte decreased 700 to 35,300. Birmingham decreased 200 to 13,800. New Orleans fell 200 to 15,900. Louisville decreased 300 to 18,600 and Nashville decreased 200 to 32,800.

The Northeast decreased 12,300 in August. New York decreased 4,900 to 267,200 and Boston fell 1,000 to 111,800. Philadelphia grew 700 to 97,600. Pittsburgh and Providence remained constant at 38,700 and 21,100, respectively. Buffalo decreased 500 to 16,700. Hartford increased 200 to 25,500 and Rochester decreased 400 to 13,500.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 1,200 in August. Minneapolis-St. Paul increased 1,500 to 93,300. St. Louis grew 1,500 to 49,400. Chicago decreased 1,300 to 140,400 and Detroit increased 1,000 to 71,200. Milwaukee decreased 300 to 29,100. Columbus fell 900 to 34,600 and Cincinnati decreased 300 to 36,500. Kansas City decreased 400 to 41,700 and Indianapolis decreased 1,000 to 29,800. Cleveland fell 400 to 31,400.

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), 9 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Salt Lake City (S/D rate of 0.71), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.77), San Jose (0.80), Washington, DC (0.81), Denver (0.81), Boston (0.88), San Francisco (0.90), Austin (0.91), and Seattle-Tacoma (.91) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Honolulu (1.08), Nashville (1.08), Columbus (1.18), Kansas City (1.25), and Dallas (1.25).

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 42 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, 5 of the largest ten online job categories posted increases and 5 posted decreases (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of August

In August, all of the largest five online job categories posted increases.

Business and finance ads increased 13,300 to 291,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.77, i.e. more than 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7). Management ads increased 10,200 to 422,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.04, i.e. 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Computer and mathematical science ads increased 6,400 to 535,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.28, i.e. over 3 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker. Healthcare practitioners and technical ads decreased 8,700 to 643,300. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 0.20, i.e. 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker.

Food preparation and serving related ads decreased 15,500 to 237,500. The supply/demand rate lies at 2.33, i.e. over 2 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening. Sales and related ads decreased 10,100 to 487,400. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.61, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation and material moving ads decreased 7,500 to 317,500. The supply/demand rate lies at 2.26, i.e. over 2 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening. Office and administrative support ads grew 5,200 to 504,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.73, i.e. over 1 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:


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Press Release
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Technical Notes
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