Online Labor Demand Little Changed in November, Down 15,700

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

-- Northeast region drops 30,900, partially due to hurricane effects, while other regions increase

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

Dec 03, 2012, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Online advertised vacancies were basically unchanged (down 15,700) in November to 4,719,900, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) Data Series released today. The Supply/Demand rate stands at 2.6 unemployed for every vacancy. In October the number of unemployed was 7.5 million above the number of advertised vacancies, down from 11.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

"Hurricane Sandy pushed the national labor demand into negative territory as declines along the East Coast more than offset the gains in States in the central and western U.S.," said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board. The "hurricane effect" on the East Coast impacted job demand from Virginia to Massachusetts and contributed to a combined drop of 20,000 in New York and New Jersey. As we head into the final month of the year, November has left the average monthly national gain for the eleven months of 2012 at a very weak 36,000/month. In spite of this sluggish performance, advertised vacancies for Construction and Extraction occupations rose 16,000 or 19 percent in the first eleven months of 2012.

The release schedule, national historic table and technical notes to this series are available on The Conference Board website, The historical series for States and the 52 largest MSA is available from Haver Analytics. The underlying data for The Conference Board HWOL are scraped by Wanted Technologies Corporation.


  • Northeast region drops 30,900 partially due to hurricane effects; other regions increase
  • Majority of States showed November increases with hurricane-affected East Coast States showing losses

Recent Changes for States

In November, online labor demand declined in 20 of the 50 States in the U.S., including seven of the 20 in the Northeast. However, all States but Vermont were above last November's levels. Numerous other States in the nation posted very modest gains and losses while a few States (like Texas, up 10,800; and North Carolina, Michigan, and Colorado, up about 5,000 each) posted larger increases in labor demand.

In the Northeast labor demand fell 30,900 in November with New York down 9,900 and New Jersey down 9,700. The November drop for New Jersey brought the number of advertised vacancies back to the level in December 2011. New York's November decline lowered the cumulative 2012 gain to 8,900. Pennsylvania fell 4,400 for a cumulative gain of 5,300, or 3.0 percent, this year. Massachusetts lost 2,300 for a year-to-date increase of 10,400, or 8.1 percent. Among the smaller States in the Northeast, November labor demand decreased by 4,200 in Connecticut and 1,100 in New Hampshire and increased by 600 in Maine and 200 in Rhode Island.

Online labor demand in the South rose 15,000 in November with Texas posting the largest increase, 10,800, for a cumulative 2012 increase of 52,900, or 17.2 percent. Other large States with double-digit percentage increases included North Carolina, up  5,500 in November and 23,300, or 19.9 percent, for 2012; Florida, up 2,700 for an eleven-month (year-to-date) increase of 26,400, or 11.0 percent; and Georgia, up 2,300 for a cumulative 2012 increase of 16,400, or 14.0 percent. Virginia dropped 2,100 in November, but the eleven-month change was a positive 14,400, or 10.5 percent. Maryland lost 2,000 for a year-to-date gain of 8,300, or 8.0 percent. In November among the smaller States, Louisiana rose 4,300, South Carolina gained 500, Arkansas fell 500, and Tennessee lost 300.

Online labor demand in the Midwest rose 2,900 in November. Michigan experienced the largest increase, 5,400, for a cumulative 2012 increase of 22,900, or 18.5 percent. Illinois rose 3,100 for a year-to-date gain of 23,200, or 14.7 percent. Wisconsin gained 1,300 for a cumulative increase of 3,700, or 3.8 percent. Missouri lost 7,800 for a 2012 loss of 1,400, or 1.7 percent. Minnesota dropped 1,500 for a 2012 gain of 10,700, or 9.8 percent. Ohio dipped 200 in November for a year-to-date increase of 12,600, or 7.4 percent. Among the smaller Midwest States in November, North Dakota gained 500 and Kansas gained 100 while Indiana fell 200.

Online labor demand in the West edged up 1,900 in November. In spite of the modest November gains, the larger States in the West have shown double-digit gains in the last eleven months. Colorado was up 4,900 in November for a cumulative 2012 gain of 22,200, or 25.9 percent. Arizona's gain of 1,600 brought the State's cumulative increase to 16,400, or 20.6 percent, for the year. California and Washington both gained 800. California's year-to-date gain was 68,100, or 14.7 percent; Washington's was 16,600, or 16.0 percent. Among the smaller States in November, Utah rose 1,100, Oregon gained 500, and Nevada fell 4,500.

The Supply/Demand rates for the States are for October 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 0.67. The State with the highest Supply/Demand rate is Mississippi (5.18), 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 November about half (9) of the largest metro areas posted decreases in labor demand while 11 posted gains
  • Ten 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 November, 9 of the 20 largest MSAs and 23 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted decreases in the number of advertised vacancies.

Metro Area Changes

A number of the largest metro areas have shown substantial strength in online advertised vacancies since the official end of the recession in June 2009. Thirteen across the U.S. have posted increases of over 100 percent: Detroit (up 141 percent), Cleveland (up 140 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul (up 132 percent), Nashville (up 129 percent), San Jose (up 124 percent), Milwaukee (up 118 percent), Charlotte (up 118 percent), Denver (up 117 percent), Columbus (up 117 percent), Louisville (up 111 percent), Indianapolis (up 110 percent), Birmingham (up 104 percent), and San Francisco (up 101 percent).

Seven of the metro areas for which data are reported separately reached their peaks in November.  They are Birmingham, Tucson, San Jose, New Orleans, Charlotte, Nashville, and Dallas. Birmingham has been rising steadily since June 2009 while Tucson, San Jose, Charlotte, Nashville, and Dallas are up since May 2009.  New Orleans started its upward trend in November 2009.

Twenty of the largest MSAs had Supply/Demand rates in October 2012 (the latest available data for unemployment) lower than 2, indicating there are fewer than two unemployed for every advertised vacancy. Washington, DC continues to have the most favorable Supply/Demand rate (1.04) with about one advertised vacancy for every unemployed worker. Oklahoma City (1.21), Salt Lake City (1.23), Minneapolis-St. Paul (1.23), Boston (1.35), Columbus (1.38), Honolulu (1.43), and San Jose (1.44) 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 nearly seven unemployed workers for every advertised vacancy (6.65), Sacramento (3.84), and Miami (3.47). Supply/Demand rate data are for October 2012, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.


In November:

  • 14  of the 22 major occupational groups in the Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) rose in November while 8 declined
  • Among the top 10 occupations Transportation and Material Moving occupations were up 14,500 while Office and Administrative occupations dropped 15,400

Occupational Changes for the Month of November

November saw an increase in demand for workers in a variety of service occupations. Among the largest occupational groups, Transportation and Material Moving occupations posted a November increase of 14,500 to 248,000 largely due to higher demand for Truck Drivers. Labor demand for Food Preparation and Serving Related occupations rose 8,200 to 206,500 and was led by an increase in demand for Short-Order Cooks.  Sales and Related occupations rose 7,500 to 643,100. In the Sales category the November increase included higher demand for Financial Services Sales Agents and Securities and Commodities Sales Agents.

Occupations for which November demand declined included Office and Administrative Support occupations, down 15,400 to 484,400. The decline was led by a decrease in demand for Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Receptionists and Information Clerks, Medical Secretaries, and General Office Clerks.  Demand for Management occupations also dropped in November by 9,700 to 451,500 and was led by a decrease in demand for Social and Community Service Managers and Medical and Health Services Managers. Other categories with November declines in labor demand included Computer and Mathematical Science, down 5,000 to 588,700; Healthcare Practitioners and Technical, down 3,800 to 605,700; and Business and Finance, down 2,100 to 271,600.

Trends in 2012

Construction Occupations

Workers in a variety of construction and related occupations have seen improving job opportunities in 2012.    Labor demand for Construction occupations has continued to rise in 2012; demand rose 4,300 in the month of November and was 19,200, or 25 percent, above last year's level. The number of unemployed relative to the number of advertised vacancies has continued to improve. In October, the latest month for unemployment data, there were 12.8 unemployed for every available ad. This is significantly better than the situation in June 2009 at the end of the recession, when there were 46 unemployed for every available ad in construction. 

Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance

The increase in advertised vacancies extends to occupations that are closely allied with construction work and upgrading and maintaining buildings. "In 2012 job demand for workers in building and grounds has fluctuated, but the current demand of 75,700 is an all-time high for labor demand for these occupations," said Shelp, "reflecting increase janitors, maids, housecleaners as well as landscaping and grounds workers." 


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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