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Press Release / News
Online Job Ads Increased 2,500 in September
04 October, 2017

  • Most States and MSAs are relatively flat
  • Services/Production show gains while Professional Occupations show losses

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies increased 2,500 to 4,482,300 in September, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The August Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.59 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 7.1 million in August.

The Professional occupational category saw losses in Management (-27.2) and Business and financial (-16.1). The Services/Production occupational category saw gains in Sales (16.9), Office and Administrative Support (13.2), and Transportation (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, 11 increased, 8 decreased, and 1 was constant
  • Among the 50 States, 18 increased, 28 declined and 4 were constant 

September Changes for States

In September, online labor demand grew in 18 States, declined in 28 States, and was constant in 4 States. Two regions experienced increases and two experienced decreases.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 1,900 in September (Table A). Missouri increased 4,400 to 81,700 and Ohio decreased 2,300 to 154,100. Illinois grew 700 to 173,100 and Michigan decreased 600 to 132,300.  Minnesota increased 3,400 to 129,600 and Wisconsin decreased 1,500 to 97,800. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 3,500 to 75,700 and Iowa decreased 2,100 to 53,800. Nebraska grew 400 to 27,600 and South Dakota decreased 300 to 11,000. Kansas decreased 4,000 to 33,400 (Table 3).

The Northeast increased 11,500 in September. New Jersey increased 3,600 to 145,600. Massachusetts increased 1,500 to 133,600. New York increased 4,300 to 274,800. Pennsylvania increased 1,700 to 192,700. In the smaller States, Connecticut remained constant at 65,400. Maine decreased 1,400 to 16,300 and New Hampshire decreased 100 to 22,200. Rhode Island decreased 400 to 13,900 and Vermont fell 500 to 9,900.

The West increased 7,600 in September. California increased 2,600 to 520,500 and Washington increased 5,500 to 146,800. Colorado increased 4,300 to 115,300. Arizona decreased 2,000 to 87,200. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon increased 1,400 to 70,500. Utah increased 1,000 to 45,700. Nevada increased 200 to 43,600. Idaho fell 2,700 to 19,000 and New Mexico increased 100 to 23,500. Montana fell 300 to 18,800 and Hawaii increased 700 to 19,300.

The South decreased 27,600 in September. Among the larger States in the region, Florida decreased 10,900 to 221,100. Texas remained constant at 300,300. North Carolina increased 2,800 to 126,800. Virginia fell 5,700 to 139,700. Georgia decreased 2,000 to 138,700. Maryland decreased 700 to 93,700. Among the smaller States, Tennessee remained constant at 76,000 and South Carolina decreased 1,800 to 55,200. Alabama fell 1,000 to 46,200. Kentucky decreased 600 to 40,600 and Oklahoma decreased 3,800 to 33,700. Louisiana fell 1,200 to 36,400 and Delaware decreased 1,000 to 14,300.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for August 2017, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 6 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: North Dakota (0.63), Colorado (0.65), New Hampshire (0.90), Minnesota (0.92), Hawaii (0.97), and Iowa (0.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.86), Mississippi (2.72), and Kentucky (2.72) 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 September, 11 of the 20 largest metro areas rose, 8 declined, and one remained constant
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 25 rose, 23 declined, and 4 were constant (See Pdf Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In September, labor demand rose in 25 metro areas, declined in 23, and 4 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: St. Louis (2,500) and Minneapolis (3,600) in the Midwest; Denver (2,900) and Seattle-Tacoma (4,300) in the West; Miami (-5,400) and Virginia Beach, (-2,500) in the South; and Boston (1,000) and New York (7,500) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West increased 7,600 in September. Seattle-Tacoma grew 4,300 to 97,700 and Denver increased 2,900 to 67,600. San Francisco increased 600 to 102,300. Los Angeles decreased 1,400 to 155,600 and San Jose grew 600 to 54,300. Riverside grew 300 to 31,300. Phoenix decreased 200 to 61,600 and Portland grew 1,500 to 44,900. Sacramento remained constant at 27,200 and Salt Lake City increased 600 to 24,300. Honolulu increased 500 to 13,300 and Las Vegas fell 300 to 27,000.

The South decreased 27,600 in September. Miami decreased 5,400 to 57,100 and Houston decreased 2,000 to 58,300. Washington DC remained constant at 136,600. Dallas grew 900 to 102,200 and Atlanta decreased 900 to 92,300. Charlotte increased 800 to 41,200. Orlando decreased 600 to 32,000. Tampa decreased 900 to 39,500 and Birmingham fell 300 to 13,000. Baltimore decreased 500 to 49,400. San Antonio grew 300 to 27,100. Nashville increased 800 to 32,700. New Orleans fell 300 to 13,700. Louisville decreased 700 to 15,900.

The Northeast increased 11,500 in September. New York increased 7,500 to 281,100 and Boston grew 1,000 to 102,400. Philadelphia increased 800 to 92,800. Pittsburgh increased 900 to 39,600. Providence remained constant at 18,800. Buffalo decreased 200 to 15,800. Hartford remained constant at 25,800 and Rochester increased 900 to 14,100.

The Midwest experienced a decrease of 1,900 in September. St. Louis grew 2,500 to 42,000 and Minneapolis-St. Paul increased 3,600 to 92,100. Chicago increased 500 to 136,700 and Detroit decreased 400 to 63,600. Columbus decreased 300 to 33,600 and Cincinnati increased 200 to 33,700. Kansas City increased 1,200 to 35,900 and Cleveland fell 100 to 28,900. Milwaukee decreased 1,200 to 30,600. Indianapolis decreased 1,000 to 29,100.

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 August’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 12 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Denver (S/D rate of 0.56), San Jose (0.73), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.79), Nashville (0.84), Honolulu (0.87), Salt Lake City (0.91), Seattle-Tacoma (0.91), Washington, DC (0.91), San Francisco (0.93), Boston (0.97), Austin (0.97), and Milwaukee (0.99) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Detroit (1.05) and Hartford (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 and Cleveland (over 2 unemployed for every opening). In 46 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 September, four of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases (See Pdf Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of September

In September, four of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases.

Management ads decreased 27,200 to 371,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.09, i.e. over 1 job-seeker for every advertised available opening. (see Table C and Table 7).

Business and financial operations ads decreased 16,100 to 265,500. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.73, i.e. over 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Computer and math ads decreased 5,000 to 493,700. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.23, i.e. over 4 job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Sales and related ads increased 16,900 to 444,500. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.66, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Office and administrative support ads increased 13,200 to 466,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.62, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads increased 8,700 to 308,600. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.89, i.e. over 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.


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

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 supplemental data


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