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 Increased 49,000 in January

01 Feb. 2017

  • The small gain in January follows a December increase of 74,000
  • Midwest, Northeast and South show gains, while the West shows small losses
  • Note: January data incorporates updated seasonal adjustment factors

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

NEW YORK, February 1, 2017…Online advertised vacancies increased 49,000 to 4,850,500 in January, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The December Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.57 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 2.7 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.5 million in December.

“In recent months, the trend in the number of online job ads has been flat to slightly rising,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board.

The Professional occupational category saw small losses in Management (-1.2), Healthcare Practitioners (-1.4), and gains in Computer/Math (23.0) and Architecture/Engineering (6.1). The Services/Production occupational category saw losses in Sales (-7.6) and gains in Office/Admin (18.8) and Transportation (10.1).


  • Among the largest States, 15 rose, 4 declined, and 1 was constant
  • Among the 50 States, 39 rose, 9 declined, and 2 were constant

January Changes for States

In January, online labor demand was up in 39 States, down in 9, and constant in 2 (see Table 3). All but one region experienced increases.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 40,300 in January (Table A). Michigan increased 7,400 to 154,600. Wisconsin increased 5,800 to 107,300 and Illinois grew 4,300 to 180,800. Minnesota increased 3,200 to 131,800. Ohio increased 2,700 to 167,700. Missouri increased 2,800 to 107,900.Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana increased 5,700 to 81,800 and Iowa increased 3,500 to 60,200. Nebraska grew 700 to 32,300 and South Dakota grew 400 to 18,100. Kansas increased 900 to 40,500 (Table 3).

The Northeast increased 15,900 in January. Pennsylvania increased 8,600 to 208,400. New York increased 1,300 to 294,400. New Jersey increased 1,900 to 150,200. Massachusetts increased 1,800 to 147,900. In the smaller States, Connecticut grew 2,100 to 69,300. Maine increased 1,200 at 24,000 and New Hampshire increased 1,100 to 27,900. Rhode Island increased 500 to 16,600 and Vermont grew 1,100 to 14,200.

The West decreased 18,000 in January. California decreased 8,600 to 553,000. Colorado increased 1,100 to 121,900 and Washington increased 400 to 159,500. Arizona decreased 700 to 96,100. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 5,500 to 70,600. Utah decreased 7,300 to 48,200. Nevada increased 1,500 to 47,900. Idaho decreased 700 to 23,500 and New Mexico increased 1,500 to 26,700. Montana remained constant at 19,100 and Wyoming increased 400 to 7,700.  

The South increased 11,900 in January. Among the larger States in the region, Virginia grew 2,600 to 152,000. Florida increased 400 to 251,800. Texas decreased 400 to 323,100. Georgia decreased 1,000 to 150,300. North Carolina remained constant at 131,200. Maryland increased 1,900 to 104,200. Among the smaller States, Alabama grew 900 to 50,400. Tennessee increased 300 to 82,400 and South Carolina increased 2,300 to 64,300. Kentucky increased 1,500 to 45,600 and Oklahoma increased 2,000 to 41,300. Louisiana grew 2,000 to 46,400 and Delaware increased 200 to 16,700.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for December 2016, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 9 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: Massachusetts (0.69), South Dakota (0.71), Colorado (0.72), New Hampshire (0.73), North Dakota (0.78), Vermont (0.80), Utah (0.85), Minnesota (0.90), and Hawaii (0.97). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.92), Mississippi (2.80), and Alabama (2.76), 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 January, among the 20 largest metro areas, 8 gained and 12 declined
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 29 rose, 21 declined, and 2 remained constant 

Metro Area Changes

In January, labor demand rose in 29 metro areas, 21 declined, and 2 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (3,900) and Detroit (3,500) in the Midwest; San Francisco (-5,200) and Salt Lake City (-4,100) in the West; Baltimore (2,100) and Miami (-1,500) in the South; and Philadelphia (1,800) and New York (-1,400) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 18,000 in January. San Francisco decreased 5,200 to 106,800 and Salt Lake City decreased 4,100 to 27,700. Los Angeles fell 3,700 to 168,800. Denver decreased 1,000 to 71,200. Phoenix decreased 400 to 68,000 and San Jose decreased 300to 53,400. San Diego fell 300 to 50,200. Portland decreased 2,700 to 45,600 and Sacramento remained constant at 28,900. Honolulu decreased 100 to 14,000 and Las Vegas grew 200 to 31,400.

The South increased 11,900 in January. Miami decreased 1,500 to 66,700 and Baltimore increased 2,100 to 54,400. Washington DC grew 200 to 154,000 and Tampa decreased 1,300 to 46,900. Houston decreased 700 to 60,100 and Atlanta decreased 1,100 to 98,500. Dallas fell 600 to 109,000 and Austin increased 300 to 41,100. Charlotte increased 100 to 38,600 and San Antonio decreased 300 to 30,900. Nashville decreased 300 to 33,500. Birmingham decreased 700 to 14,500. New Orleans grew 1,000 to 17,800. Louisville increased 900 to 18,200.

The Northeast increased 15,900 in January. Philadelphia increased 1,800 to 101,500. New York decreased 1,400 to 287,700 and Boston grew 700 to 112,700. Pittsburgh increased 600 to 39,700 and Providence increased 800 to 23,100. Buffalo remained constant at 16,600. Hartford increased 500 to 27,600 and Rochester increased 600 to 14,700.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 40,300 in January. Chicago increased 3,900 to 142,100 and Detroit increased 3,500 to 74,300. Minneapolis-St. Paul increased 2,300 to 93,200 and St. Louis grew 1,100 to 51,100. Columbus increased 200 to 35,600 and Cincinnati increased 1,200 to 36,500. Kansas City increased 200 to 44,100 and Cleveland fell 100 to 30,800. Milwaukee increased 2,100 to 31,400. Indianapolis increased 2,900 to 31,600.

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 November’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 10 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Salt Lake City (S/D rate of 0.61), Denver (0.61), Boston (0.65), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.75), San Jose (0.76), San Francisco (0.87),  Seattle-Tacoma (0.87),  Washington, DC (0.87), Austin (0.88), and Honolulu (.91) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Hartford, (1.00), Nashville (1.14), Kansas City (1.15) and Columbus (1.19).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (almost 4 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston and Birmingham (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 January, six of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases

Occupational Changes for the Month of January

In January, six of the ten largest online occupational categories posted increases.

Computer and mathematical science ads increased 23,000 to 530,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.24, i.e. over 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Architecture and engineering ads increased 6,100 to 147,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.55, i.e. over 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Sales and related ads decreased 7,600 to 465,400. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.73, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads increased 18,800 to 521,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.52, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads increased 10,100 to 342,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.95, i.e. almost 2 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Construction ads increased 2,700 to 134,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 4.97, i.e. almost 5 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 2017

March 8, 2017
April 5, 2017
May 3, 2017
May 31, 2017
July 5, 2017
August 2, 2017
August 30, 2017
October 4, 2017
November 1, 2017
December 6, 2017

The next release is Wednesday, March 8 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