Press Release / News
Online Job Ads Declined 26,100 in April
03 May, 2017

  • Following the March increase, HWOL registered a small loss in April
  • The South, Northeast, and Midwest showed losses, while the West showed small gains
  • Most occupations showed losses over the month

 Download the complimentary National Historical Table.


Online advertised vacancies decreased 26,100 to 4,613,600 in April, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The March Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.55 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.6 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.2 million in March.

The Professional occupational category saw losses in Computer/Math (-7.8), Business and Finance (-2.6) and small gains in Healthcare Practitioners (4.3). The Services/Production occupational category saw losses in Sales (-15.7) and Office and Administrative Support (-8.7).

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, 9 increased and 11 declined
  • Among the 50 States, 18 increased, 30 declined, and 2 remained constant

April Changes for States

 In April, online labor demand grew in 18 States, declined in 30 States, and 2 remained constant. Three regions experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 800 in April (Table A). Ohio decreased 2,300 to 159,600. Minnesota increased 2,000 to 129,000. Illinois grew 1,600 to 177,600. Wisconsin increased 1,300 to 101,800 and Michigan decreased 100 to 141,600. Missouri decreased 200 to 99,900. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 900 to 77,700 and Iowa increased 1,100 to 55,800. Nebraska declined 1,300 to 29,100 and South Dakota fell 500 to 16,400. Kansas decreased 700 to 38,400 (Table 3).

The Northeast decreased 8,400 in April. Massachusetts decreased 2,500 to 140,100. Pennsylvania decreased 3,100 to 197,300. New Jersey decreased 200 to 146,100. New York decreased 100 to 281,000. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 300 to 72,200. Maine decreased 300 at 17,000 and New Hampshire increased 200 to 23,800. Rhode Island decreased 100 to 14,700 and Vermont declined 700 to 10,300.

The West increased 7,300 in April. California increased 4,500 to 534,200 and Washington decreased 100 to 149,900. Colorado increased 700 to 118,000. Arizona increased 1,700 to 94,200. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon increased 100 to 67,700. Utah decreased 200 to 45,300. Nevada increased 500 to 46,900. Idaho decreased 100 to 22,700 and New Mexico decreased 1,000 to 24,600. Montana grew 500 to 19,500 and Hawaii increased 400 to 19,200.  

The South decreased 12,300 in April. Among the larger States in the region, Texas increased 700 to 314,300. Florida increased 2,200 to 244,800. Virginia declined 1,800 to 148,100. Maryland decreased 2,000 to 96,300. North Carolina fell 600 to 136,100. Georgia increased 200 to 146,500. Among the smaller States, Tennessee decreased 900 to 77,400 and South Carolina decreased 800 to 60,600. Alabama declined 900 to 46,600. Kentucky decreased 1,400 to 41,100 and Oklahoma remained constant at 37,900. Louisiana declined 800 to 41,000 and Delaware decreased 500 to 15,500.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for March 2017, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 8 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: Colorado (0.65), North Dakota (0.75), South Dakota (0.76), New Hampshire (0.89), Minnesota (0.91), Massachusetts (0.92), Iowa (.95), and Vermont (0.96). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.87), Alabama (2.71), and Mississippi (2.62), 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, among the 20 largest metro areas, 16 rose and 4 declined
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 26 rose, 23 declined, and 3 were constant (See Pdf, Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In April, labor demand rose in 26 metro areas, declined in 23 metro areas, and 3 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (2,000) and Indianapolis (-900) in the Midwest; Los Angeles (2,500) and Seattle-Tacoma (1,100) in the West; Baltimore (-1,800) and Dallas (-1,500) in the South; and Philadelphia (-2,200) and Boston (-2,000) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West increased 7,300 in April. Los Angeles increased 2,500 to 163,300 and Seattle-Tacoma grew 1,100 to 103,700. San Francisco decreased 600 to 101,800. Denver increased 300 to 68,500 and San Jose increased 100to 51,400. Phoenix increased 400 to 65,800 and Portland remained constant at 43,600. Sacramento declined 400 to 27,800 and Salt Lake City decreased 400 to 24,000. Honolulu remained constant at 12,600 and Las Vegas increased 200 to 30,300.

The South decreased 12,300 in April. Dallas fell 1,500 to 106,100. Houston increased 1,100 to 61,600. Miami decreased 1,000 to 66,100 and Washington DC declined 1,400 to 143,700.  Tampa increased 1,000 to 45,500 and Austin remained constant at 37,600. Baltimore decreased 1,800 to 50,600. Atlanta decreased 600 to 97,700.  Charlotte increased 800 to 44,200 and San Antonio increased 100 to 29,800. Nashville increased 300 to 32,900. Birmingham decreased 300 to 13,100. New Orleans grew 100 to 15,400. Louisville decreased 1,100 to 16,300.

The Northeast decreased 8,400 in April. Philadelphia decreased 2,200 to 96,300. New York decreased 1,400 to 284,100 and Boston fell 2,000 to 107,500. Pittsburgh increased 500 to 39,500. Providence decreased 200 to 20,200. Buffalo grew 100 to 16,100. Hartford decreased 1,000 to 27,200 and Rochester increased 200 to 14,200.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 800 in April. Chicago increased 2,000 to 141,400. Minneapolis-St. Paul increased 600 to 90,700. Columbus decreased 600 to 34,600 and Cincinnati decreased 700 to 34,600. Detroit increased 600 to 70,500 and St. Louis grew 800 to 48,000. Kansas City decreased 200 to 41,800 and Cleveland grew 300 to 29,800. Milwaukee increased 200 to 30,300. Indianapolis decreased 900 to 29,800.

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 February’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 9 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Denver (S/D rate of 0.67), San Jose (0.75), Seattle-Tacoma (0.77), Salt Lake City (0.78), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.81), Boston (0.84), Washington, DC (0.85), San Francisco (0.87), and Honolulu (0.99) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Portland (1.04) and Austin (1.07).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (over 3 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston (over 3 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 April, three of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases (See Pdf, Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of April

In April, three of the ten largest online occupational categories posted increases.

Computer and mathematical science ads decreased 7,800 to 516,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.20, i.e. 5 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Education, training, and library ads increased 5,800 to 167,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.60, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Healthcare practitioners and technical ads increased 4,300 to 596,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.13, i.e. over 7 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker.

Management ads decreased 3,600 to 388,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.84, more than 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Sales and related ads decreased 15,700 to 457,700. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.31, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and Administrative Support ads decreased 8,700 to 476,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.53, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads decreased 1,900 to 296,600. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.88, i.e. almost 2 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


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

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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