Press Release / News
Online Job Ads Decreased 360,200 in February
08 March, 2017

  • In February, the number of online job ads dropped in all States
  • 11 percent of all online job ads are for mathematical and computer occupations
  • Note: February data incorporates the HWOL annual revision (see Program Notes on page 7)

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies decreased 360,200 to 4,537,600 in February, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The January Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.56 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 7.6 million in January.

The Professional occupational category saw losses in Healthcare Practitioners (-48.6), Computer/Math (-28.3) and Management (-24.7). The Services/Production occupational category saw losses in Office/Admin (-43.8), Transportation
(-41.7), and Sales (-22.5).


NOTE: Recently, the HWOL Data Series has experienced a declining trend in the number of online job ads that may not reflect broader trends in the U.S. labor market. Based on changes in how job postings appear online, The Conference Board is reviewing its HWOL methodology to ensure accuracy and alignment with market trends.


  • Among the largest States, all declined
  • Among the 50 States, all declined

The release schedule, national historic table and technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board web site, The historical series for the States and the 52 largest MSAs is available from Haver Analytics. The underlying data for The Conference Board HWOL is collected by Wanted Analytics, a CEB Company.

February Changes for States

In February, online labor demand was down in all 50 States (see Table 3). All four regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 85,000 in February (Table A). Ohio decreased 15,200 to 155,900. Michigan decreased 11,600 to 145,000 and Illinois declined 10,800 to 172,600. Minnesota decreased 8,200 to 125,100. Missouri decreased 8,700 to 99,200. Wisconsin decreased 8,200 to 97,900. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 8,100 to 75,200 and Iowa decreased 4,800 to 56,200. Nebraska declined 1,800 to 30,900 and South Dakota declined 1,400 to 16,700. Kansas decreased 1,700 to 39,400 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 55,700 in February. New York decreased 15,400 to 280,300. Pennsylvania decreased 13,300 to 199,300. New Jersey decreased 8,200 to 145,000. Massachusetts decreased 8,300 to 138,700. In the smaller States, Connecticut declined 5,700 to 70,800. Maine decreased 300 at 17,500 and New Hampshire decreased 2,200 to 23,900. Rhode Island decreased 1,900 to 14,600 and Vermont declined 1,200 to 11,100.

The West decreased 94,200 in February. California decreased 45,200 to 512,600 and Washington decreased 15,000 to 146,500. Colorado decreased 7,800 to 115,400. Arizona decreased 6,800 to 90,500. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 6,100 to 65,400. Utah decreased 2,600 to 45,100. Nevada decreased 2,000 to 46,400. Idaho decreased 2,300 to 21,900 and New Mexico decreased 2,300 to 24,900. Montana fell 1,200 to 18,100 and Wyoming decreased 100 to 7,700.  

The South decreased 90,600 in February. Among the larger States in the region, Texas decreased 27,100 to 299,600. Florida decreased 19,700 to 235,900. Virginia declined 9,800 to 144,600. Maryland decreased 5,000 to 100,400. Georgia decreased 7,900 to 144,600. North Carolina fell 1,600 to 131,100.Among the smaller States, Tennessee decreased 5,200 to 76,700 and South Carolina decreased 3,200 to 61,100. Alabama declined 2,900 to 47,800. Kentucky decreased 2,600 to 43,500 and Oklahoma decreased 2,900 to 38,100. Louisiana declined 3,400 to 43,100 and Delaware decreased 800 to 15,700.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for January 2017, 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 (0.69), Colorado (0.71), New Hampshire (0.75), North Dakota (0.75), Vermont (0.86), Minnesota (0.86), Hawaii (0.98), and Utah (0.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.78), Alabama (2.69), and Mississippi (2.67), 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 February, among the 20 largest metro areas, all 20 declined
  • Among the 52 metro areas, all 52 declined 

Metro Area Changes

In February, labor demand declined in all 52 metro areas. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (-7,800) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (-5,000) in the Midwest; Los Angeles (-14,500) and Seattle-Tacoma (-8,000) in the West; Washington, DC (-9,200) and Dallas (-7,800) in the South; and New York (-11,900) and Philadelphia (-5,700) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 94,200 in February. Los Angeles fell 14,500 to 157,700 and Seattle-Tacoma declined 8,000 to 100,500. San Francisco decreased 6,900 to 101,100. Denver decreased 4,700 to 67,800 and San Jose decreased 3,900to 49,300. Phoenix decreased 4,700 to 65,200 and Portland decreased 3,900 to 42,800. Sacramento declined 2,300 to 27,300 and Salt Lake City decreased 1,900 to 24,200. Honolulu decreased 1,700 to 12,900 and Las Vegas declined 1,300 to 31,000.

The South decreased 90,600 in February. Washington DC declined 9,200 to 147,100 and Dallas fell 7,800 to 102,800. Atlanta decreased 4,600 to 96,800 and Tampa decreased 4,100 to 43,700. Houston decreased 2,900 to 57,900 and Austin decreased 3,400 to 38,100. Miami decreased 3,800 to 64,800 and Baltimore decreased 2,400 to 53,000. Charlotte decreased 800 to 41,500 and San Antonio decreased 2,100 to 29,400. Nashville decreased 3,100 to 31,400. Birmingham decreased 500 to 13,900. New Orleans declined 1,500 to 16,500. Louisville decreased 1,200 to 17,300.

The Northeast decreased 55,700 in February. New York decreased 11,900 to 288,000. Philadelphia decreased 5,700 to 98,100 and Boston declined 5,400 to 107,200. Pittsburgh decreased 2,500 to 38,100 and Providence decreased 2,900 to 20,700. Buffalo fell 1,400 to 15,800. Hartford decreased 1,400 to 27,600 and Rochester decreased 1,500 to 13,700.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 85,000 in February. Chicago decreased 7,800 to 136,800 and Detroit decreased 4,600 to 70,800. Minneapolis-St. Paul decreased 5,000 to 89,900 and St. Louis declined 3,600 to 47,400. Columbus decreased 2,700 to 33,800 and Cincinnati decreased 2,700 to 33,900. Kansas City decreased 3,100 to 41,400 and Cleveland fell 2,200 to 29,400. Milwaukee decreased 900 to 29,700. Indianapolis decreased 3,600 to 29,400.

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 December’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 11 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Denver (S/D rate of 0.57), Salt Lake City (0.63), Boston (0.64), San Jose (0.71), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.76), Washington, DC (0.79), Seattle-Tacoma (0.81), San Francisco (0.82), Honolulu (0.88), Austin (0.91), and Hartford (0.95) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Kansas City (1.08), Nashville (1.10), and Portland (1.11).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (almost 4 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston and Miami (over 2 unemployed for every opening). In 47 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 February, all of the largest ten online occupational categories posted decreases

Occupational Changes for the Month of February

In February, all of the ten largest online occupational categories posted decreases.

Computer and mathematical science ads decreased 28,300 to 507,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.25, i.e. 4 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Healthcare practitioners and technical ads decreased 48,600 to 584,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.14, i.e. over 7 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Management ads decreased 24,700 to 386,300. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.88, more than 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Sales and related ads decreased 22,500 to 451,700. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.78, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads decreased 43,800 to 481,600. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.60, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads decreased 41,700 to 307,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.74, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.


HWOL 2017 Annual Revision

With the February 2017 press release, the HWOL program has incorporated its annual revision, which helps ensure the accuracy and consistency of the HWOL time series. This year’s annual revision includes updates to the job board coverage, a revision of the historical data from May 2005 forward, an update of the Metropolitan Statistical area definitions to 2015 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) county-based MSA definitions, and the annual update of the seasonal adjustment factors.

Special Note

Recently, the HWOL Data Series has experienced a declining trend in the number of online job ads that may not reflect broader trends in the U.S. labor market. Based on changes in how job postings appear online, The Conference Board is reviewing its HWOL methodology to ensure accuracy and alignment with market trends.

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

Release Dates for 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

For further information contact:

Carol Courter
1 212 339 0232

Jonathan Liu
1 212 339 0257



Technical Notes
Underlying detail, diffusion indexes, components, contributions and graphs

Press Release
With graph and summary table


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