The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL)

Online Labor Demand Dropped 104,500 in April

06 May. 2015

  • Following a very strong first quarter, demand slowed in April
  • After 8 years, US Supply/Demand rate reaches a significant recovery milestone (see below)
  • Note: Table 6 and MSA unemployment data in Table B are omitted until BLS issues revised seasonally adjusted MSA unemployment data

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 decreased 104,500 to 5,361,900 in April, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series, released today. The March Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.57 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 3.1 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was 8.6 million in March.

“After 8 years, the US Supply/Demand (S/D) rate is now back to its pre-recession best in March 2007,” said Gad Levanon, Managing Director, Macroeconomic and Labor Market Research. “The Great Recession had taken the US S/D rate to a high of about 5.0 in April 2009 (nearly 5 unemployed competing for each ad). This month’s S/D rate shows a little over 1.5 unemployed competing for each ad.” The S/D recession/recovery impacts by occupational groups are profiled in Table D. (See p. 7.)

The significant drop in the US S/D rate has been helped by very strong employer demand, ranging from 4 to 5 million ads each month over the past 4 years, making it easier for the recession’s 15 million unemployed to find employment opportunities. With the recession’s unemployment numbers finally down significantly, the continued high employer demand at 5 million ads per month will make the job search for new entrants into the labor market much easier.


  • 18 of the 20 largest States posted losses in April
  • Among the 50 States, 41 States declined, 8 rose, and 1 remained constant (Connecticut)

April Changes for States

In April, online labor demand was down in 41 States (see Table 3), up in 8, and constant in one (Connecticut). All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced the largest April decrease, −32,500, led by Minnesota, which declined 6,600 to 131,900 (Table A). Illinois followed with a decrease of 5,800 to 209,700. Ohio fell 5,100 to 196,100. Wisconsin decreased 4,800 to 117,400. Michigan lost 1,700 to 178,100. Missouri slipped 900 to 92,000. Among the smaller States in the region, Iowa declined 3,000 to 70,500; Nebraska fell 2,200 to 43,300; Kansas was down 1,200 to 46,700; North Dakota dropped 900 to 21,300; South Dakota fell 700 to 20,200; and Indiana slipped 300 to 88,100 (Table 3).

The West lost 20,600 in April. California experienced the largest loss, -9,800, to 625,200. Washington decreased 3,300 to 141,900. Arizona dropped 3,200 to 104,100. Colorado increased 3,500 to 135,000. Among the smaller States in the West, Nevada declined 2,600 to 47,600; Oregon decreased 2,200 to 82,200; Hawaii dropped 700 to 17,600; New Mexico dipped 500 to 31,000; Alaska was down 300 to 18,400; and Utah slipped 100 to 63,300. Idaho inched up 100 to 28,700.

The Northeast dropped 18,200. Massachusetts experienced the largest decrease, −4,600, to 167,900. New York fell 4,300 to 321,200. New Jersey dropped 3,000 to 148,000. Pennsylvania decreased 2,700 to 219,000. In the smaller States, New Hampshire and Rhode Island dropped 1,300 each to 25,600 and 21,500 respectively, Vermont decreased 700 to 13,800, and Maine slipped 100 to 29,500. Connecticut remained constant.

The South decreased 14,600 in April. Among larger States in the region, Florida led the decline with a drop of 5,500 to 284,400. Texas fell 4,400 to 398,000. Virginia dropped 4,300 to 146,700. Maryland fell 1,900 to 103,100. Georgia decreased 1,400 to 159,300. North Carolina rose 1,400 to 141,700. Among the smaller States, Louisiana dropped 1,500 to 57,300; South Carolina decreased 1,400 to 65,400; and Alabama slipped 300 to 53,500. Kentucky increased 1,700 to 53,000, Mississippi rose 300 to 27,100, and West Virginia inched up 100 to 21,100.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for March 2015, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were nine States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: Nebraska (0.58), North Dakota (0.59), South Dakota (0.77), Utah (0.78), Minnesota (0.82), Montana (0.90), Colorado (0.90), Vermont (0.91), and Iowa (0.92). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Mississippi (3.15), where there were more than three unemployed workers for every job opening, and Louisiana (2.47) and West Virginia (2.42), 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 April 27 metro areas increased, 23 declined, and two remained constant (Honolulu and Miami) (Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In April, labor demand was up in 27 of the 52 largest metro areas, down in 23, and unchanged in two (Honolulu and Miami). The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Los Angeles (−4,300) in the West; Minneapolis (−4,200) in the Midwest; Houston (−4,000) in the South; and Boston (−2,700) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The Midwest experienced the largest April decrease, −32,500, led by Minneapolis-St. Paul, which declined 4,200 to 89,000. Chicago fell 3,800 to 159,600. Cleveland slipped 1,300 to 36,300. Detroit inched up 700 to 81,400. Milwaukee fell 700 to 33,000, Kansas City dropped 500 to 40,600, and Columbus slipped 400 to 39,800. Cincinnati rose 1,100 to 37,700, St. Louis increased 600 to 41,700, and Indianapolis inched up 300 to 31,200.

The West declined 20,600 in April. Los Angeles dropped 4,300 to 184,000. San Francisco fell 1,100 to 123,000. Denver rose 2,000 to 75,800. Seattle-Tacoma gained 1,500 to 91,500. San Diego increased 800 to 51,200. Phoenix grew 700 to 71,900. San Jose inched up 500 to 54,700. Portland dropped 1,700 to 49,900, Salt Lake City slipped 200 to 35,900, and Sacramento inched up 200 to 31,600.

The Northeast decreased 18,200, reflecting a drop of 2,700 in Boston to 126,200. New York fell 2,000 to 290,000. Philadelphia slipped 600 to 102,900. Hartford rose 1,300 to 30,600, Providence increased 700 to 29,000, Buffalo grew 600 to 23,100, and Rochester gained 200 to 18,200. Pittsburgh dropped 1,100 to 43,400.

The South decreased 14,600. Houston declined 4,000 to 90,900. Washington, DC fell 1,900 to 153,600. Atlanta slipped 300 to 104,100. Baltimore rose 800 to 55,000. Dallas gained 500 to 122,500. Miami remained constant. Nashville increased 1,300 to 34,100, San Antonio rose 900 to 33,100, and Tampa gained 800 to 48,500. Orlando slipped 300 to 36,100.


  • In April, 8 of the largest online job categories posted decreases while 2 posted increases (Table C).

Occupational Changes for the Month of April

In April, 8 of the largest online job categories posted decreases while 2 posted increases. Computer and Math demand decreased 29,400 in April to 579,200 due to drops in demand for web developers and applications software developers. Management ads dropped 22,300 to 478,300 largely due to declines in demand for sales managers and medical and health services managers. Business and Financial ads dropped 17,000 to 333,300 due to drops in demand for accountants. Architecture and Engineering ads dropped 14,200 to 166,800, largely due to a decline in demand for industrial engineers. Transportation ads dropped 13,200 in April to 374,100, largely due to a decline in demand for truck drivers. (See Table 7 for Supply/Demand rates for all of the SOC categories.)

Food Preparation and Serving-Related ads grew 13,000 to 247,300, largely due to increased demand for first-line supervisors of food preparation and serving workers. The supply/demand rate for Food Preparation and Serving-Related lies at 3.08, i.e. about three unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Occupational Supply/Demand Rate

During the depths of the recession, the national Supply/Demand nearly reached 5.0 in April 2009. The current supply/demand rate is at 1.57, indicating that there are a little over 1.5 unemployed competing for each ad. In the professional category, the Computer and Math supply/demand rate is 0.14, i.e. there are about 7 advertised vacancies for every unemployed job-seeker. During the recession, in the Computer and Math field there was more than one ad available for each unemployed person (see Table D). In other professional categories, the Business and Financial supply/demand rate is .52, about 2 openings per job-seeker. In April 2009, the supply/demand rate was 1.95. In Management the supply/demand rate is 0.85, i.e. about one unemployed per opening. In April 2009, the supply/demand rate was 2.6, i.e., more than 2 unemployed job-seekers per opening (See Table D).

While the Professional categories were not heavily impacted by the recession, this was not the case for the Services/Production categories. In the Services/Production categories, in April 2009, Transportation had over 16 unemployed competing for every ad; by March 2015, it has recovered to almost 2 unemployed for every ad. In April 2009, Production had 22 unemployed competing for every ad; by March 2015, it has recovered to only 3.6 unemployed for every ad. In April 2009, Construction had 40 unemployed competing for every ad; by March 2015, it has recovered to only 5.5 unemployed for every ad.


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 membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with 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:

Release Dates for 2015

June 3
July 1
August 5
September 2
September 30
November 4
December 2

The next release is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3 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

  • Human Capital
  • Back to Top