Online Labor Demand down 77,800 in October

-- Advertised vacancies basically flat for the last five months (since May)

-- 2012 average monthly gain is 41,000 with over half of the gain in the first quarter

-- Haver Analytics: The HWOL press release time series (over 3,000 series) is available on Haver Analytics

Oct 31, 2012, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Online advertised vacancies fell 77,800 in October to 4,735,600, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series released today. The October number is in line with the number of advertised vacancies in May 2012. The Supply/Demand rate stands at 2.5 unemployed for every vacancy. In September the number of unemployed was 7.3 million above the number of advertised vacancies, down from 11.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

"The average labor demand for the last five months (since May 2012) is neither up nor down but basically flat," said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board. Nationally the gains and losses over the last five months netted out to a very weak average of about 4,000/month. There have been some bright spots recently with construction occupations — up 16 percent since May — while labor demand since May has been flat in occupations as varied as Management, Health Care Practitioners, and Office workers and other occupations (Healthcare Support and Sales workers) have shown declines. The flat national increase belies strength in some States including Idaho and Michigan, which both increased 10 percent, and Florida, with a 9 percent increase in labor demand for the five-month period.


Recent Changes for States

In October, online labor demand declined in 39 of the 50 States in the U.S. (Table 3). However, all States but Vermont (which is down) and Rhode Island (no change) were above last October's levels. Many States posted gains in the last five months, May to October 2012, though the national average was flat. Large States in the South with the largest gains in labor demand in the last five months included Florida and North Carolina (up 8.7 and 8.8 percent, respectively), and Texas and Georgia, up 4.7 and 4.6 percent. In the West, Arizona was up 15.8 percent in the last five months while California and Colorado rose 5.7 and 6.2 percent. Slow or declining labor demand in other large States over this period included Pennsylvania (down 1.8 percent) and Ohio (down 3.5 percent), while New York in the East and Illinois in the Midwest were basically flat.

Online labor demand in the South fell 26,300 in October (Table A) with Texas posting the largest decrease, 5,900, for a cumulative 2012 increase of 42,100, or 13.7 percent. Next was Virginia with an October decrease of 4,000 and a ten-month increase of 16,500, or 12.1 percent. Florida dropped 3,900 in October for a year-to-date increase of 23,700, or 9.9 percent. North Carolina fell 1,800 for a cumulative 2012 increase of 17,800, or 15.2 percent. Maryland lost a mere 400 for a year-to-date gain of 10,300, or 9.9 percent. Georgia posted the only October gain, 1,700, for a year-to-date increase of 14,000, or 12.0 percent. In October among the smaller States, Louisiana rose 1,900, Tennessee gained 200, South Carolina dropped 2,100, and Arkansas fell 100.

In the Northeast labor demand fell 23,400 in October. New York led the drop with a decline of 7,600 for a cumulative 2012 gain of 18,800, or 7.4 percent. New Jersey was next with an October drop of 5,400 for a ten-month increase of 9,600, or 6.7 percent. Massachusetts lost 4,400 for a year-to-date increase of 12,700, or 10.0 percent. Pennsylvania fell 4,100 for a cumulative gain of 9,700, or 5.5 percent, so far this year. Among the smaller States in the Northeast, October labor demand decreased by 1,500 in Connecticut; 1,300 in Rhode Island, and 600 in New Hampshire and rose 200 in Maine (Table 3).

Online labor demand in the Midwest dropped 18,100 in October. Ohio experienced the largest decrease, 9,300, for a cumulative 2012 increase of 12,800, or 7.6 percent. Missouri lost 1,500 for a 2012 gain of 6,400, or 7.5 percent. Wisconsin and Illinois both dropped 1,200 in October. Wisconsin's year-to-date gain was 2,400, or 2.5 percent; Illinois' was 20,100, or 12.7 percent. Michigan fell a mere 100 for a ten-month gain of 17,500, or 14.1 percent. Minnesota experienced the only October increase,100, for a 2012 gain of 12,200, or 11.2 percent. Among the smaller Midwest States in October, Indiana fell 1,900; North Dakota dropped 600; and Kansas gained 500.

Online labor demand in the West rose 7,700 in October. Arizona led with a gain of 6,000 for a cumulative 2012 gain of 14,800, or 18.6 percent. Colorado rose 5,300 in October for a cumulative gain of 17,300, or 20.3 percent, for the year. California, the largest State, gained 1,200 in October and was up 67,300, or 14.5 percent, in the first ten months of 2012. Washington State rose 1,000 in October and is up 15,800, or 15.3 percent, this year. Among the smaller States in October, Oregon and Utah dropped 400 and Nevada fell 500.

The Supply/Demand rates for the States are for September 2012, the latest month available for state unemployment data. The number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed only in North Dakota, where the Supply/Demand rate was 0.63. The State with the highest Supply/Demand rate is Mississippi (5.31), where there were over five unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. 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 October 12 of the largest metro areas posted decreases in labor demand
  • About 1/3 of the largest metro areas have supply/demand rates below 2, indicating that there are fewer than two unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy

In October, 12 of the 20 largest MSAs and 27 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted decreases in the number of advertised vacancies.

A number of the largest metro areas have shown strength in online advertised vacancies since the official end of the recession in June 2009. Twelve have posted increases of over 100 percent: Detroit (up 143 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul (up 139 percent), Cleveland (up 129 percent), Nashville (up 123 percent), San Jose (up 121 percent), Milwaukee (up 116 percent), Columbus (up 116 percent), Charlotte (up 112 percent), Indianapolis (up 112 percent), Denver (up 108 percent), Louisville (up 107 percent), and Birmingham (up 101 percent).

Seventeen MSAs had Supply/Demand rates in August 2012 (the latest available data for unemployment) lower than 2, indicating there are fewer than two unemployed for every advertised vacancy (See Table 6). Washington, DC continues to have the most favorable Supply/Demand rate (1.05) with about one advertised vacancy for every unemployed worker. Oklahoma City (1.17), Minneapolis-St. Paul (1.21), Boston (1.29), Salt Lake City (1.41), and Columbus (1.45) had the next lowest Supply/Demand rates.

Metro areas in which the number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies include Riverside, CA with over seven unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy (7.48), Sacramento (4.09), Las Vegas (3.71), and Miami (3.69). Supply/Demand rate data are for August 2012, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.


In October:

  • 16 of the 22 major occupational groups in the Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) posted drops while 6 increased
  • Among the top 10 occupations Food Preparation and Serving Related occupations were up  16,000
  • Sales and Related occupations dropped 35,500

Occupational Changes for the Month of October

Among the largest occupational groups, Food Preparation and Serving Related occupations posted an October increase of 16,000 to 198,200 largely due to higher demand for First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Food Preparation and Serving Workers.

Demand for Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations rose 3,100 to 609,500 and was led by an increase in demand for Family and General Practitioners and Registered Nurses.

Sales and Related occupations experienced the largest October decrease, dropping 35,500, or 5.3 percent, to 635,500. In the Sales category the decrease included lower demand for First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Retail Sales Workers.

Other categories with October declines in labor demand included Computer and Mathematical Science, down 8,700 to 593,800; Business and Financial Operations, down 6,400 to 273,700; and Installation, Maintenance, and Repair, down 4,100 to 167,200.

. . . thus far in 2012

Ten months into 2012 the slowdown in labor demand in recent months has impacted all of the two-digit occupational categories.  Eleven, or half, of the 22 categories have lost ground in the last five months with the number of advertised vacancies in October below the May 2012 labor demand. These categories are Production; Food Preparation and Serving-Related; Healthcare Support; Architecture and Engineering; Education, Training, and Library; Legal; Computer and Mathematical Science; Life, Physical, and Social Science; Transportation and Material Moving; Office and Administrative Support and Farming and Fishing.  However, all but two of the categories are still above their January 2012 levels. Production is roughly in line with the January level while the October level for Health Care Support occupations is 8,400 below the monthly demand in January.

Production Occupations

The monthly demand for Production workers has slowed in the last six months, and the October level of 136,600 is in line with the online advertisements for workers in January 2012.  The number of unemployed workers remains well above the number of advertised vacancies with nearly 6 (5.7) unemployed for every advertised vacancy in September, the last month available for unemployment data.

Construction Occupations

Labor demand for Construction occupations, while down slightly in October, has continued to rise throughout 2012. In October demand was 92,600, almost 18,000 above the January 2012 level. The number of unemployed relative to the number of advertised vacancies has continued to improve, but it is still challenging for the unemployed looking for work. In September, the latest month for unemployment data, there were over 13 unemployed for every available ad. This is significantly better than the situation in June 2009, when there were 46 unemployed for every available ad in construction. 

Computer and Mathematical Occupations

Labor demand for computer and mathematical occupations has declined over the last five months. However, the situation is markedly different from the situation for Production workers and Construction workers. In October the number of advertised vacancies outnumbered the unemployed looking for work in computer or math jobs by five-to-one, in sharp contrast to the situation for Production jobs where there were almost six unemployed for every ad and Construction where there were over 13 job seekers for every advertised vacancy.


HWOL is now 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 or

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 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.

WANTED Technologies Corporation

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:

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