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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 Labor Demand Declined in November

05 Dec. 2018

Online Labor Demand Declined in November

The Conference Board launches Experimental Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Index

  • Online demand in mining grew by 22 percent over the past year, faster than all other industries
  • Among occupation groups, computer and legal related ads experienced the fastest growth in the past 12 months
  • The Northeast region saw the fastest job ads growth in the past year

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Index declined in November. The Index now stands at 97.1 (July 2018=100), down from 99.8 in October.

Beginning with the December 2018 release, The Conference Board launched the Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index and the revised Help Wanted OnLine® Data Series. The HWOL Index measures changes over time in advertised online job vacancies, improving upon the prior Data Series’ ability to assess local labor market trends. The index does not measure differences in the number of ads among geographies, occupations, or industries. It measures the change in ads relative to the base period (July 2018=100). An increase in the index is associated with an increase in job openings and hiring activity in the US economy. The revised HWOL Data Series reflects a new methodology and universe of online job ads. Both the revised HWOL Data Series and the HWOL Index begin in January 2012 (see technical note).

“Despite the declines in October and November, the HWOL Index still remains at a level consistent with strong hiring activity,” said Gad Levanon, Chief Economist, North America, at The Conference Board. “We expect employment growth to remain strong and labor turnover rates to increase as the labor market gets tighter. Recruiters will be as busy as ever finding qualified workers for new jobs and replacing workers who have moved on to other jobs. With the slack in the labor market shrinking, the average time to fill job openings is likely to keep breaking records. In such an environment, we expect employers to continue raising wages faster, accelerating wage growth by about 0.5 percentage points by the end of 2019.”

Experimental Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index: United States, seasonally adjusted, November 2018

[July 2018=100]

The release schedule, national historic table and technical note are available on The Conference Board website, The underlying data for The Conference Board HWOL is collected by CEB, Inc.


HWOL available on Haver Analytics

A number of the key HWOL Data Series are exclusively available on Haver Analytics. The available HWOL Data 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 data series 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 Experimental Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Index measures changes over time in advertised online job vacancies, reflecting monthly trends in employment opportunities across the US. The HWOL Data Series aggregates the total number of ads available by month from the HWOL universe of online job ads. Ads in the HWOL universe are collected in real-time from over 28,000 different online job boards including traditional job boards, corporate boards, social media sites, 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), Help Wanted OnLine® measures help wanted advertising, i.e. labor demand. The HWOL Data Series began in May 2005 and was revised in December 2018 to reflect a new universe and methodology of online job advertisements and therefore cannot be used in conjunction with the pre-revised HWOL Data Series.  With the December 2018 release, The Conference Board released the Experimental HWOL Index for the specific purpose of providing a robust time series for measuring changes in labor demand over time. It improves upon the HWOL Data Series’ ability to assess local labor market trends by reducing volatility and non-economic noise and improving correlation with local labor market conditions. Both the HWOL Data Series and the Experimental HWOL Index begin in January 2012.

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,

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a member-focused think tank that provides trusted insights for what’s ahead. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

About CEB, Inc.

CEB, Inc. 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, CEB, Inc. 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 2019

January 9, 2019

February 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

April 3, 2019

May 8, 2019

June 5, 2019

The next release is Wednesday, January 9 at 10 AM.

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

U.S. Indicators