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Press Release / News
Online Job Ads Decreased 51,000 in May
30 May, 2018

Online Job Ads Decreased 51,000 in May

  • Losses widespread across virtually all States and MSAs
  • Most occupations showed losses over the month
  • Note: June 2018 data will be released on July 3, 2018

Download the complimentary National Historical Table.

Online advertised vacancies decreased 51,000 to 4,699,500 in May, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series,released today. The April Supply/Demand rate stands at 1.34 unemployed for each advertised vacancy, with a total of 1.6 million more unemployed workers than the number of advertised vacancies. The number of unemployed was approximately 6.35 million in April.

The Professional occupational category saw changes in Education (-8.4), Computer and math (+5.0) and Management (-5.9). The Services/Production occupational category saw changes in Transportation (-27.2), Protective service (+5.1), and Construction (-4.8).

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 20 largest States, 2 increased and 18 decreased
  • Among the 50 States, 3 increased, 46 declined, and 1 was constant

May Changes for States

In May, online labor demand grew in 3 States, declined in 46 States, and 1 was constant. Three regions experienced decreases and one increased.

The Northeast decreased 8,500 in May (Table A). New York decreased 4,800 to 276,400. New Jersey increased 11,700 to 152,000. Massachusetts decreased 2,500 to 138,900. Pennsylvania decreased 5,300 to 200,700. In the smaller States, Connecticut decreased 1,700 to 63,700. New Hampshire decreased 1,200 to 22,800 and Maine decreased 800 to 17,300. Rhode Island decreased 900 to 15,000 and Vermont decreased 700 to 10,900 (Table 3).

The West decreased 39,700 in May. California decreased 13,500 to 526,600 and Colorado decreased 1,700 to 119,500. Washington decreased 5,900 to 133,900. Arizona decreased 1,700 to 90,700. Among the smaller States in theWest, Oregon decreased 4,200 to 69,600. Utah decreased 2,500 to 50,300. Nevada decreased 1,500 to 43,300. Idaho fell 1,300 to 21,900 and New Mexico decreased 1,300 to 24,700. Montana fell 500 to 18,000 and Hawaii decreased 800 to 20,600.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 11,800 in May. Illinois grew 43,700 to 231,100 and Michigan decreased 6,000 to 134,200. Missouri decreased 1,200 to 87,000 and Ohio decreased 12,700 to 157,100. Minnesota decreased 2,200 to 132,200 and Wisconsin decreased 4,500 to 98,200. Among the smaller States in the region, Indiana decreased 3,400 to 80,200 and Iowa decreased 100 to 59,600. Nebraska decreased 1,200 to 28,500 and South Dakota decreased 200 to 13,400. Kansas increased 300 to 37,600.

The South decreased 40,600 in May. Among the larger States in the region, Texas decreased 8,700 to 328,400. Florida decreased 1,700 to 242,500. North Carolina decreased 3,100 to 133,200. Georgia decreased 12,600 to 140,100. Virginia decreased 3,200 to 144,000. Maryland decreased 200 to 93,200. Among the smaller States, Tennessee decreased 2,200 to 79,100 and South Carolina decreased 2,900 to 58,300. Alabama fell 2,400 to 49,400. Kentucky remained constant at 46,500 and Oklahoma decreased 1,900 to 38,000. Louisiana decreased 600 to 40,300 and Delaware decreased 200 to 16,700.

Supply/Demand Rates: Help Wanted OnLine calculates Supply/Demand rates for the 50 States (Table 4). The data are for April 2018, the latest month for which State unemployment figures are available. There were 12 States in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed: Hawaii (0.65), North Dakota (0.66), Colorado (0.73), Minnesota (0.74), Iowa (0.79), New Hampshire (0.82), Vermont (0.83), Wisconsin (0.87), Massachusetts (0.92), Utah (0.92), Nebraska (0.96), and Virginia (0.98). The States with the highest Supply/Demand rates were Louisiana (2.34), Mississippi (2.14), and West Virginia (2.09), 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, three of the 20 largest metro areas rose and 17 declined
  • Among the 52 metro areas, 7 rose and 45 declined (see pdf Table 5)

Metro Area Changes

In May, labor demand rose in 7 metro areas and declined in 45. The MSAs with the largest changes in each of the regions were: Chicago (38,700) and Detroit (-3,900) in the Midwest; Seattle-Tacoma (-6,300) and Los Angeles (-5,500) in the West; Atlanta (-8,400)and Dallas (-4,900) in the South; and New York (6,900) and Philadelphia (3,400) in the Northeast (See Table B and Table 5).

The West decreased 39,700 in May. Seattle-Tacoma fell 6,300 to 87,000 and Phoenix decreased 1,300 to 65,200. San Francisco decreased 3,800 to 108,100. Los Angeles decreased 5,500 to 155,700. Denver decreased 1,200 to 71,800 and San Jose fell 2,500 to 59,000. Riverside decreased 500 to 31,400. Portland fell 3,700 to 43,200. Sacramento decreased 200 at 26,800 and Salt Lake City decreased 900 to 27,600. Honolulu fell 500 to 13,700 and Las Vegas fell 900 to 27,300.

The South decreased 40,600 in May. Houston decreased 2,400 to 70,400 and Dallas decreased 4,900 to 103,600. Miami decreased 200 to 67,300 and Washington, DC decreased 3,100 to 142,500. Austin fell 1,300 to 39,200 and Atlanta decreased 8,400 to 93,700. Orlando increased 1,000 to 35,800. Charlotte decreased 1,400 to 41,900. Tampa fell 400 to 41,200 and Baltimore decreased 400 to 49,600. San Antonio fell 1,200 to 27,200. Nashville decreased 500 to 34,200. New Orleans fell 400 to 14,600 and Birmingham decreased 1,100 to 13,100. Louisville increased 200 to 17,000.

The Northeast decreased 8,500 in May. New York increased 6,900 to 288,900 and Pittsburgh decreased 600 to 43,300. Philadelphia increased 3,400 to 101,900. Boston fell 2,000 to 108,400. Providence decreased 1,400 to 19,600. Buffalo decreased 1,200 to 16,200. Hartford fell 1,000 to 25,400 and Rochester decreased 500 to 14,000.

The Midwest experienced an increase of 11,800 in May. Detroit decreased 3,900 to 63,900 and Chicago increased 38,700 to 187,200. Minneapolis-St. Paul decreased 2,800 to 92,900 and St. Louis grew 1,200 to 48,400. Indianapolis fell 900 to 30,600. Columbus decreased 2,700 to 34,100 and Cincinnati decreased 3,500 to 33,400. Kansas City increased 700 to 38,200 and Cleveland decreased 2,600 to 29,500. Milwaukee decreased 900 to 29,900.

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), 14 major metro areas saw more job openings than unemployed workers: San Jose (S/D rate of 0.46), Denver (0.58), San Francisco (0.59), Minneapolis-St. Paul (0.60), Honolulu (0.66), Salt Lake City (0.71), Milwaukee (0.77), Nashville (0.79), Boston (0.81), Washington, DC (0.83), Seattle-Tacoma (0.86), Austin (0.91), Indianapolis (0.92), and Columbus (0.96) (Table 6). Other favorable markets for job-seekers included Cincinnati (1.01) and Kansas City (1.05).

In contrast, unemployed workers face great competition for each advertised position in Riverside (over 2 unemployed for every opening) as well as Houston and Las Vegas(2 unemployed for every opening). In 49 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, three of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases and seven declined (see pdf Table C)

Occupational Changes for the Month of May

In May, three of the largest ten online occupational categories posted increases and seven declined.

Computer and math ads increased 5,000 to 566,500. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.18, i.e. 5 advertised openings per unemployed job-seeker (see Table C and Table 7).

Management ads decreased 5,900 to 426,900. The supply/demand rate lies at 0.65, i.e. 1 advertised opening per unemployed job-seeker.

Education, training, and library ads decreased 8,400 to 168,800. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.80, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Sales and related ads decreased 4,500 to 445,200. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.51, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Protective service ads increased 5,100 to 58,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.52, i.e. over 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.

Transportation ads decreased 27,200 to 357,000. The supply/demand rate lies at 1.22, i.e. 1 unemployed job-seeker for every advertised available opening.


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.

The spike in the May 2018 Illinois trend is due to the addition of a new job board and not caused by economic reasons. The impact was limited to Illinois and without the inclusion of the board, the trend would have remained relatively unchanged.

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
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

Joseph DiBlasi



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

Press Release
With supplemental data


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