Online Job Demand Up 255,000 in December, The Conference Board Reports

2009 JOB DEMAND wrap-up:

2009 ends on a positive note, with online job demand rising 255,000 in December

Job demand averages +58,000/month in 2nd half of 2009 compared to -91,000/month in 1st half

Gap between the number of unemployed and advertised vacancies stands at 12 million (Nov 2009) compared to 2.9 million in Dec 2007 at start of the recession

Jan 06, 2010, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board







NEW YORK, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Online advertised vacancies rose by 255,000 to 3,642,000 in December, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine Data Series (HWOL)(TM) released today. Nationally, growth in job demand has been mildly positive since the low point in April 2009, with an average monthly increase of less than 60,000. The 2009 annual average stands at 3,357,000, a figure that is 1.1 million below the 4,481,000 annual average for 2008 and 1.3 million below the average for 2007.


"Employers' modest increase in demand for labor in the second half of 2009 is a nice way to end what has been a very challenging year," said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. "The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is still very high, but the recent six months indicate that things are slowly moving in the right direction. The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is about 12 million, with 4.5 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy."


Regional and State Highlights


December job demand is up in all of the most populous states


Washington State posts its largest monthly gain (11,600) since HWOL series began in 2005


Positive trend in labor demand in:

  • Connecticut, New York and New Jersey in the Northeast
  • Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware in the South


In the South, December online advertised vacancies rose by 120,400, reflecting increases in all of the most populous Southern states. Texas gained 22,100, over twice its November gain. Virginia gained 19,600, its first gain since August, and offset nearly three times its recent losses. Florida gained 13,000. North Carolina was up 8,600 in December and Maryland gained 4,300, its first gain since August while Georgia was up 1,700. Among the less populous states in the South, in December, Oklahoma increased by 8,200, Kentucky increased by 3,000, and advertised vacancies in Louisiana increased by 2,000.


The Midwest, the region with the second largest December gain, was up 54,500. Ohio gained 11,700, its largest gain since February 2008. Michigan gained 8,400 and Missouri was up 7,300, both posting their largest gains since December 2006. Wisconsin gained 5,000 and did not quite offset its November loss. Minnesota gained 4,700, its largest gain since August 2008, while Illinois was up 6,700.


Job demand in the Northeast was up 48,000, with advertised vacancies up in all of the larger states. Pennsylvania posted the largest increase, up 23,800 to 152,300, in December. New York increased by 9,600 to 241,800 while New Jersey rose by 4,800 to 132,000. Massachusetts increased by a modest 200. Among the states with smaller populations, in December job demand in Connecticut increased by 3,300, New Hampshire rose 2,200, Rhode Island was up by 1,500, and Maine and Vermont rose 1,100 and 1,000 respectively.


The West was up 45,000 in December. Washington rose 11,600, its largest monthly gain since the HWOL series began in mid-2005. California rose by 7,200, and Colorado gained 4,500 in December to more than offset its September through November losses. Arizona gained 3,500, slightly more than its November gain. Among the states with smaller populations, Nevada rose 2,700, Hawaii rose 1,900, and New Mexico was up 1,300.


The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in November (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 4.54, down slightly from 4.79 in October and indicating that there are now 4.54 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. Among the states, the highest Supply/Demand rate continues to be in Michigan (10.34), where there are over 10 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy. Other states where there are over 6 unemployed for every advertised vacancy are Mississippi (9.06), Kentucky (7.50), Indiana (6.50), Florida (6.07), South Carolina (6.05), and Ohio (6.03). States with some of the lowest rates include Nebraska (1.73), Alaska (1.83), and Virginia (1.97).


It should be noted 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 (see Occupational Highlights section).




Labor demand for Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations, Office and Administrative Support occupations, and Sales and Related occupations rises in December


Jobs for Healthcare Support occupations remained high throughout the recession


Among the top 10 occupation groups, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations, the largest category in terms of volume, posted the largest December gain, 45,100. Job demand was up in a wide variety of these healthcare occupations including registered nurses and physical and occupational therapists.


Labor demand for Healthcare Support occupations rose 9,200 to 111,900. Demand for Healthcare Support workers has remained relatively steady throughout the recession, although the number of unemployed seeking work in this field has remained relatively high. In November, the last month for which unemployment data are available, there were 2.7 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in healthcare support. Healthcare is a broad field, and the relative tightness of the labor market varies substantially from the higher-paying practitioner and technical jobs to the lower-paying support occupations. In November, advertised vacancies for healthcare practitioners or technical occupations outnumbered the unemployed looking for work in this field by almost 3 to 1, and the average wage in these occupations is $32.64/hour. In sharp contrast, the average wage for healthcare support occupations is $12.66/hour and there were almost 3 unemployed looking for work in the field for every advertised vacancy.


Office and Administrative Support professions rose 41,800 in December. Job demand was up in a wide variety of administrative functions including customer service representatives and executive secretaries/administrative assistants. Sales and Related occupations increased 41,300 in December and in large part reflected an increased demand for retail salespeople and first-line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers.


Advertised vacancies in Management occupations were up 16,400 in December to 370,000. Largely responsible for the increase were medical and health services managers and marketing managers. The number of unemployed, however, continues to exceed the number of advertised vacancies, and in November there were over two unemployed (2.48) for every online advertised vacancy in the management field.


Supply/Demand rates indicated that, among the occupations with the largest number of online advertised vacancies, there is a significant difference in the number of unemployed seeking positions in these occupations. Among the top ten occupations advertised online, there were more vacancies than unemployed people seeking positions for Healthcare Practitioners (0.3) and Computer and Mathematical Science (0.4). On the other hand, in Sales and Related Occupations, there were nearly four people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (3.8) and there were over five unemployed looking for work in Office and Administrative Support positions for every advertised opening (5.2).




Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, and Baltimore have the lowest Supply/Demand rates


Online advertised vacancies in 26 of the 52 major metropolitan areas rose since last year


In December, 26 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted over-the-year increases in the number of online advertised vacancies. Among the three metro areas with the largest numbers of advertised vacancies, the New York metro area was about 13 percent above its December 2008 level and the Washington, D.C. metro area was about 15 percent above its December 2008 level. The Los Angeles metro area was about 6 percent below last year's level.


The number of unemployed exceeded the number of advertised vacancies in all of the 52 metro areas for which information is reported separately. Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, and Baltimore were the locations with the most favorable supply/demand rates, where the number of unemployed looking for work was only slightly larger than the number of advertised vacancies. On the other hand, metro areas in which the respective number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies include Riverside, CA, where there are nearly 11 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (10.6), and Detroit (9.6), Miami (5.9), Sacramento (5.9), Tampa (5.0), Los Angeles (5.0), and Memphis (5.0). Riverside has just surpassed Detroit, which since July had maintained the highest supply/demand rate. Supply/Demand rate data are for November 2009, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.




The Conference Board Help Wanted Online Data Series(TM) measures the number of new, first-time online jobs and jobs reposted from the previous month on more than 1,200 major Internet job boards and smaller job boards 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 November 2008 but continues to be available for research), the new online series is not a direct measure of job vacancies. The level of ads in both print and online may change for reasons not related to overall job demand.


With the December 1, 2008 release, HWOL began providing seasonally adjusted data for the U.S., the 9 Census regions and 50 States. Seasonally adjusted data for occupations was provided beginning with the July 1, 2009 release. This data series, for which the earliest data is May 2005, continues to publish not seasonally adjusted data for 52 large metropolitan areas, but it is The Conference Board's intent to provide seasonally adjusted data for large metro areas in the future.


People using this data are urged to review the information on the database and methodology available on The Conference Board website and contact the economists listed at the top of this release with questions and comments. Background information and technical notes on this new series are available at:


The underlying data for this series is provided by Wanted Technologies Corporation. 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 membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with 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.


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