The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Rises 34,200 in August

02 Sep. 2015

    • Following the July increase, labor demand registers only a small increase in August
    • Michigan, California, Texas, and Pennsylvania have largest increases
    • STEM jobs show strength in August

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Online advertised vacancies rose 34,200 to 5,418,600 in August, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The July Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.54 unemployed for each advertised vacancy with a total of 2.9 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 8.3 million in July.

“Labor demand remained little changed in August, maintaining a basic flat trend over the past six months,” said Gad Levanon, Managing Director of Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research at The Conference Board. “The recent flat trend is not particularly troublesome given the continuing high monthly levels of employer demand in the labor market.”

In August, the Professional category showed some strength with Healthcare Practitioners (+14.3), Management (+12.1), Business and Finance (+5.2) and Computer (+3.1). The Services/Production category saw gains in Production (+6.4) and Transportation (+4.9) but a large loss in Office and Administration.


  • 16 of the 20 largest States posted gains in August, and 4 declined
  • Among the 50 States, 22 States rose, 27 declined and one stayed constant

August Changes for States

In August, online labor demand was up in 22 States (see Table 3), down in 27, and one stayed constant (Iowa). Two regions experienced increases while two decreased.

The Midwest experienced the largest increase of 24,300 in August (Table A). Michigan rose 12,800 to 183,700. Illinois gained 5,700 to 211,400. Ohio rose 4,000 to 197,300. Wisconsin grew 1,900 to 119,000 and Minnesota gained 1,500 to 134,000. Missouri slipped 200 to 94,700. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana rose 1,700 to 90,400, Kansas rose 500 to 48,800 and Iowa remained constant at 69,200. South Dakota and Nebraska fell 1,100 to 19,300 and 1,000 to 46,900 respectively (Table 3).

The Northeast rose 6,600 in August.  Pennsylvania experienced the largest gain in the region, 5,800 to 220,200. New Jersey rose 3,100 to 152,300. New York gained 2,900, to 330,700. Massachusetts gained 100 to 168,500. In the smaller States, Vermont gained 300 to 11,800. Connecticut fell 3,400 to 78,200 and New Hampshire fell 1,100 to 26,100. Rhode Island decreased 1,000 to 21,100 and Maine fell 600 to 25,500.

The West decrease 200 in August. California had the largest increase of the region with a gain of 9,300 to 615,000. Colorado followed with an increase of 3,900 to 136,000. Arizona inched up 300 to 106,700. Washington fell 1,900 to 145,600. Among the smaller States in theWest, Utah gained 1,100 to 65,100. Idaho fell 4,700 to 29,100, New Mexico fell 1,900 to 32,000, and Oregon fell 100 to 82,000. Nevada and Hawaii increased 500 to 47,200 and 19,100 respectively. Montana declined 3,800 to 21,700.

The South experienced an August decrease of 7,300. Among larger States in the region, Texas had the largest increase, 6,300, to 389,200. Georgia rose 2,300 to 165,900. North Carolina gained 1,000 to 143,900. Florida inched up 300 to 274,200. Virginia dropped 1,800 to 154,100. Maryland slipped 900 to 104,800. Among the smaller States, Alabama fell 3,900 to 57,400; Louisiana dropped 1,600 to 54,500; and Tennessee fell 1,500 to 94,200. Both Kentucky and Mississippi fell 200 to 56,700 and 29,300 respectively. South Carolina decreased 900 to 68,100. Oklahoma and West Virginia fell 1,000 to 45,400 and 22,100 respectively.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for July 2015, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 10 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: Nebraska (0.58), North Dakota (0.62), Montana (0.83), Utah (0.83), South Dakota (0.84), Minnesota (0.91), Iowa (0.92), Colorado (0.92), Wyoming (0.95), and Idaho (.97). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (2.77), where there were nearly three unemployed workers for every job opening, and West Virginia (2.55) and Louisiana (2.44), 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, 43 metro areas rose, 7 declined, and 2 remained constant (New Orleans and Pittsburgh) (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In August, labor demand rose in 43 of the 52 largest metro areas, down in 7, and unchanged in 2 (New Orleans and Pittsburgh). The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Detroit (9,000) and Chicago (8,100) in the Midwest; San Francisco (7,600) and Los Angeles (4,200) in the West; Dallas (5,000) and Atlanta (3,800) in the South; and New York (8,900) and Philadelphia (5,400) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West fell 200. San Francisco rose 7,600 to 126,800. Los Angeles increased 4,200 to 180,400. San Diego gained 3,500 to 49,600. Denver gained 3,000 to 76,600. Seattle-Tacoma gained 2,300 to 93,600. Riverside gained 2,200 to 40,700. Phoenix rose 1,700 to 68,400. San Jose gained 900 to 56,800. Salt Lake City increased 1,400 to 36,500, and Portland gained 500 to 49,900.

The South decreased 7,300. Dallas increased 5,000 to 125,400 and Atlanta rose 3,800 to 107,200. Miami gained 2,200 to 76,300. Houston gained 1,000 to 83,900. Washington, DC fell 1,700 to 156,300. Oklahoma City gained 1,000 to 17,800. San Antonio grew 900 to 30,500. Orlando gained 800 to 34,500 and Baltimore gained 300 to 55,300. New Orleans remained constant at 19,700. Tampa fell 700 to 48,300.

The Northeast increased 6,600. New York had the largest gain in the region and rose 8,900 to 298,600. Philadelphia gained 5,400 to 108,200. Boston rose 900 to 127,000. Rochester increased 700 to 19,800, while Pittsburgh remained constant at 40,800. Hartford dropped 1,000 to 30,200. Buffalo fell 700 to 24,100 and Providence decrease 600 to 28,400.

The Midwest had the largest increase, 24,300. Detroit grew 9,000 to 86,100. Chicago gained 8,100 to 159,900. Minneapolis-St. Paul gained 1,800 to 89,900. Cincinnati increased 1,600 to 41,200. Indianapolis gained 1,400 to 32,500. St. Louis increased 1,100 to 45,300 and Cleveland gained 600 to 35,200.  Kansas City rose 500 to 41,400. Columbus fell 300 to 38,800. Milwaukee gained 300 to 31,700.

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 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 0.56), Austin (0.73), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.77), Denver (0.79), San Jose (0.80), San Francisco (0.86), Boston (0.88), Seattle-Tacoma (0.91), and Washington, DC (0.95) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Columbus (1.02), Hartford (1.05), and Dallas (1.07).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (nearly 4 unemployed for every opening) as well as Los Angeles and Las Vegas (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 August, 7 of the largest online job categories posted increases while 3 posted decreases (Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of August

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

Healthcare practitioners and technical ads rose 14,300 to 615,900 due to rises in demand for Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at .24, i.e. about 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7). Management ads gained 12,100 to 491,900. The supply/demand rate lies at .74, i.e. about 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker. Office and Administrative Support ads declined 31,300, to 580,500 returning to its June level. Their supply/demand rate is 1.45, i.e. about one unemployed per opening.

Business and financial operations ads gained 5,200 to 335,200. The supply/demand rate lies at .69, i.e. about 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker. Computer and Mathematical Science ads rose 3,100 to 590,100. The supply/demand rate lies at .30, i.e. about 3 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker.

Transportation ads rose 4,900 to 413,400. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.66, i.e. about two unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening. Production ads gained 6,400 to 158,900. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 3.41, i.e. about three 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,


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