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Press Release / News
Online Job Ads Increased 229,700 in December
03 January, 2018

  • Gains widespread across all regions and most States and MSAs
  • Most occupations showed gains over the month

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies increased 229,700 to 4,930,700 in December, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The November Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.41 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 1.9 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 6.6 million in November.

The Professional occupational category saw gains in Education, Training, and Library (56.0), Art, Design, Entertainment (13.3) and Management (12.5). The Services/Production occupational category saw gains in Transportation (49.2), Office and Admin (21.6), and  Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance (14.0).

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 increased
  • Among the 50 States, 48 increased, 1 declined, and 1 was constant

December Changes for States

In December, online labor demand grew in 48 States, declined in 1 State, and was constant in 1 State. All four regions experienced increases.

The Northeast increased 52,500 in December (Table A). New York increased 13,800 to 298,200. New Jersey increased 7,200 to 158,700. Massachusetts increased 7,000 to 143,800. Pennsylvania increased 4,300 to 207,300. In the smaller States, Connecticut increased 9,700 to 75,500. New Hampshire increased 2,400 to 26,300 and Maine increased 2,700 to 20,100. Rhode Island increased 200 to 14,600 and Vermont grew 500 to 10,600 (Table 3).

The West increased 70,000 in December. California increased 27,800 to 564,500 and Colorado increased 10,700 to 129,500. Washington increased 4,100 to 145,000. Arizona increased 4,300 to 95,500. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon increased 5,300 to 78,700. Utah decreased 2,700 to 49,100. Nevada increased 1,700 to 44,100. Idaho grew 2,000 to 21,300 and New Mexico increased 500 to 25,000. Montana grew 2,100 to 21,600 and Hawaii increased 1,700 to 21,600.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 58,600 in December. Illinois grew 15,500 to 202,300 and Michigan increased 10,500 to 165,500. Missouri increased 5,400 to 94,000 and Ohio increased 4,500 to 170,000. Minnesota increased 6,800 to 140,400 and Wisconsin increased 4,800 to 105,900. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana increased 5,800 to 86,200 and Iowa increased 4,900 to 61,100. Nebraska grew 1,000 to 30,700 and South Dakota increased 1,300 to 14,500. Kansas increased 2,500 to 38,000.

The South increased 66,600 in December. Among the larger States in the region, Texas increased 19,300 to 343,800. Florida increased 10,600 to 265,200. North Carolina increased 5,600 to 139,500. Georgia increased 5,200 to 153,400. Virginia grew 6,600 to 146,900. Maryland increased 2,500 to 96,700. Among the smaller States, Tennessee increased 3,100 to 80,100 and South Carolina increased 2,600 to 62,800. Alabama grew 1,500 to 50,600. Kentucky increased 3,300 to 45,500 and Oklahoma increased 2,200 to 37,900. Louisiana increased 1,700 to 40,800 and Delaware decreased 200 to 15,100.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for November 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: North Dakota (0.71), Hawaii (0.71), Minnesota (0.72), Colorado (0.73), New Hampshire (0.84), Iowa (0.87), Nebraska (0.91), Massachusetts (0.95), and Vermont (0.99). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.51), Mississippi (2.31), New Mexico (2.31) and Kentucky (2.31) 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 December, all of the 20 largest metro areas rose
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 51 rose and 1 was constant (See pdf Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In December, labor demand rose in 51 metro areas, and 1 remained constant. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (10,500) and Minneapolis-St. Paul (5,300) in the Midwest; San Francisco (8,600) and Los Angeles (6,900) in the West; Houston (6,800) and Austin (3,300) in the South; and New York (9,700) and Boston (5,000) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West increased 70,000 in December. San Francisco increased 8,600 to 112,800. Los Angeles increased 6,900 to 169,600. Denver increased 4,100 to 74,700 and San Jose grew 3,200 to 57,900. Seattle-Tacoma grew 3,500 to 94,700 and Phoenix increased 2,400 to 67,700. Riverside increased 1,200 to 32,800. Portland grew 2,700 to 49,900. Sacramento increased 1,000 at 30,100 and Salt Lake City increased 1,400 to 26,500. Honolulu grew 1,700 to 15,400 and Las Vegas grew 1,000 to 28,300.

The South increased 66,600 in December. Houston increased 6,800 to 75,100 and Austin increased 3,300 to 43,100. Miami increased 3,000 to 71,700 and Washington DC increased 2,600 to 144,600. Dallas grew 3,200 to 111,400 and Atlanta increased 1,900 to 102,200. Orlando increased 600 to 38,200. Charlotte increased 200 to 45,100. Tampa increased 800 to 44,400 and Baltimore increased 1,400 to 52,400. San Antonio grew 600 to 29,400. Nashville increased 2,100 to 35,200. New Orleans grew 1,200 to 16,700 and Birmingham increased 100 to 14,100. Louisville increased 1,200 to 17,300.

The Northeast increased 52,500 in December. New York increased 9,700 to 305,100 and Philadelphia increased 2,600 to 99,500. Boston grew 5,000 to 111,100. Pittsburgh remained constant at 42,400. Providence increased 400 to 20,300. Buffalo increased 1,600 to 18,800. Hartford grew 2,800 to 28,700 and Rochester increased 1,200 to 15,600.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 58,600 in December. Chicago increased 10,500 to 159,900 and Minneapolis-St. Paul increased 5,300 to 98,400. Detroit increased 1,900 to 77,300 and St. Louis grew 2,000 to 47,600. Indianapolis increased 2,500 to 33,200. Columbus increased 1,100 to 37,100 and Cincinnati increased 1,600 to 37,000. Kansas City increased 1,200 to 40,700 and Cleveland increased 800 to 32,100. Milwaukee increased 500 to 31,400.

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 October’s data (the latest available unemployment data for metro areas), 12 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: Minneapolis-St. Paul (S/D rate of 0.59), San Jose (0.61), Honolulu (0.63), Denver (0.65), Nashville (0.74), Austin (0.78), San Francisco (0.78), Salt Lake City (0.83), Boston (0.88), Washington, DC (0.90), Seattle-Tacoma (0.96), and Milwaukee (0.97). (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Kansas City (1.06) and St. Louis (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 48 of the 52 metro areas, however, there are now fewer than 2 unemployed per advertised opening. (See pdf Table 6 for complete metro area Supply/Demand rates.)


  • In December, eight of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases and two declined (See pdf Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of December

In December, eight of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases and two declined.

Education, training, and library ads increased 56,000 to 231,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.42, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening (see Table C and Table 7).

Management ads increased 12,500 to 401,700. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.82, i.e. 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Art, design, entertainment, sports, and media ads increased 13,300 to 116,400. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.17, i.e. 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads increased 49,200 to 393,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.81, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Office and administration support ads increased 21,600 to 506,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.45, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seekers for every advertised available opening.

Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance ads increased 14,000 to 123,100. The supply/demand rate lies at 2.88, i.e. over 2 unemployed job-seekers 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 2018

January 31, 2018
March 7, 2018
April 4, 2018
May 2, 2018
May 30, 2018
July 2, 2017
August 1, 2018
September 5, 2018
October 3, 2018
October 31, 2018
December 5, 2018

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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