Press Release / News
Online Job Ads Increased 195,600 in May
31 May, 2017

  • Following the April decrease, HWOL registered a gain in May
  • All four regions showed gains
  • Most occupations showed gains over the month

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies increased 195,600 to 4,809,200 in May, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The April Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.53 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 2.4 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 7.1 million in April.

The Professional occupational category saw gains in Healthcare Practitioners (46.4), Computer/Math (25.2), and Management (23.8). The Services/Production occupational category saw gains in Sales (31.8) and Office and Administrative Support (30.6).

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 20 States increased
  • Among the 50 States, 45 increased and 5 declined

May Changes for States

In May, online labor demand grew in 45 States and declined in 5 States. All four regions experienced increases.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 27,700 in May (Table A). Illinois grew 7,700 to 185,300 and Michigan increased 6,100 to 147,700. Ohio increased 6,100 to 165,700. Minnesota increased 2,900 to 131,900. Wisconsin increased 3,300 to 105,100 and Missouri increased 3,100 to 102,900. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana increased 4,500 to 82,200 and Iowa increased 1,600 to 57,400. Nebraska grew 100 to 29,200 and South Dakota fell 5,000 to 11,400. Kansas increased 1,100 to 39,500 (Table 3).

The Northeast increased 26,100 in May. New Jersey increased 7,600 to 153,700. New York increased 6,600 to 287,600. Massachusetts increased 5,200 to 145,300. Pennsylvania increased 5,800 to 203,100. In the smaller States, Connecticut fell 600 to 71,700. Maine decreased 100 to 16,900 and New Hampshire increased 600 to 24,500. Rhode Island increased 1,200 to 15,900 and Vermont grew 1,100 to 11,400.

The West increased 32,400 in May. California increased 15,100 to 549,300 and Washington increased 6,100 to 156,000. Colorado increased 3,700 to 121,700. Arizona increased 2,600 to 96,900. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon increased 3,100 to 70,700. Utah increased 1,100 to 46,400. Nevada increased 400 to 47,300. Idaho fell 200 to 22,500 and New Mexico increased 200 to 24,800. Montana grew 200 to 19,700 and Hawaii increased 800 to 20,000.  

The South increased 59,400 in May. Among the larger States in the region, Florida increased 11,100 to 255,900. Texas increased 8,900 to 323,200. Virginia grew 4,600 to 152,700. Georgia increased 5,400 to 151,900. Maryland increased 3,000 to 99,300. North Carolina grew 4,600 to 140,700.Among the smaller States, Tennessee increased 4,000 to 81,400 and South Carolina increased 2,300 to 62,900. Alabama grew 2,100 to 48,700. Kentucky increased 2,200 to 43,300 and Oklahoma increased 1,700 to 39,600. Louisiana grew 900 to 41,900 and Delaware increased 800 to 16,300.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for April 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 (0.58), North Dakota (0.71), South Dakota (0.80), Minnesota (0.88), New Hampshire (0.90), New Hampshire (0.90), Iowa (.93), Hawaii (0.98), and Wisconsin (0.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (3.00), Mississippi (2.58), and Kentucky (2.57) 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 May, all of the 20 largest metro areas rose
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 48 rose, 3 declined, and one was constant (See Pdf Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In May, 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 (6,700) and Detroit (3,200) in the Midwest; Los Angeles (5,700) and San Francisco (5,700) in the West; Atlanta (4,500) and Washington DC (3,800) in the South; and New York (10,500) and Philadelphia (4,800) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West increased 32,400 in May. San Francisco increased 5,700 to 107,500. Los Angeles increased 5,700 to 168,900 and Denver increased 3,500 to 72,000.  Seattle-Tacoma grew 1,800 to 105,600 and San Jose increased 3,000to 54,400. Phoenix increased 1,700 to 67,500 and Portland grew 2,600 to 46,200. Sacramento grew 1,200 to 29,000 and Salt Lake City increased 500 to 24,500. Honolulu increased 500 to 13,100 and Las Vegas fell 600 to 29,700.

The South increased 59,400 in May. Washington DC grew 3,800 to 147,500 and Atlanta increased 4,500 to 102,300. Dallas grew 3,200 to 109,400. Houston increased 2,100 to 63,700. Miami increased 3,300 to 69,400.  Tampa increased 800 to 46,300 and Austin increased 600 to 38,200. Baltimore increased 2,500 to 53,100. Charlotte increased 2,300 to 46,400 and San Antonio fell 800 to 28,900. Nashville increased 2,800 to 35,700. Birmingham increased 900 to 14,000. New Orleans grew 700 to 16,000. Louisville increased 1,100 to 17,400.

The Northeast increased 26,100 in May. New York increased 10,500 to 294,600 and Boston grew 4,800 to 112,300. Philadelphia increased 4,800 to 101,000. Pittsburgh increased 1,200 to 40,700. Providence increased 1,000 to 21,200. Buffalo grew 900 to 17,000. Hartford increased 1,500 to 28,600 and Rochester increased 300 to 14,500.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 27,700 in May. Chicago increased 6,700 to 148,100. Detroit increased 3,200 to 73,700 and St. Louis grew 2,600 to 50,700. Minneapolis-St. Paul increased 2,600 to 93,300. Columbus increased 1,800 to 36,400 and Cincinnati increased 1,000 to 35,700. Kansas City increased 1,800 to 43,600 and Cleveland grew 1,600 to 31,400. Milwaukee increased 2,400 to 32,700. Indianapolis increased 3,100 to 32,800.

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 March’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 10 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Denver (S/D rate of 0.49), San Jose (0.70), Seattle-Tacoma (0.71), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.74), Salt Lake City (0.80), Boston (0.84), San Francisco (0.84), Washington, DC (0.85), Milwaukee (0.95) and Honolulu (0.98) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Portland (1.03) and Hartford (1.08).

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 50 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 May, all of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases (See Pdf Table C) 

Occupational Changes for the Month of May

In May, all of the ten largest online occupational categories posted increases.

Healthcare practitioners and technical ads increased 46,400 to 642,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.15, i.e. over 6 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Computer and mathematical science ads increased 25,200 to 542,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.29, i.e. over 3 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker.

Management ads increased 23,800 to 412,700. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.78, more than 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Business and finance ads increased 15,700 to 298,600. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.00, i.e. 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Sales and related ads increased 31,800 to 489,500. The supply/demand rate for these occupations lies at 1.57, more than 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads increased 30,600 to 507,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.37, 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


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

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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