Online advertised vacancies declined 506,000 to 3,355,000 in January, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series (HWOL)™. The January loss, combined with a similar sharp drop of 507,000 in December, results in a decline of over 1 million advertised vacancies, or 23 percent, in the last two months.

The very sharp declines in advertised vacancies throughout the nation in the last two months are clearly making it increasingly hard for those who are unemployed to find new positions. An expected increase in the unemployment numbers coming out at the end of this week, combined with this sharp January drop in labor demand, will widen the labor supply/demand gap. In December, the number of unemployed looking for work already exceeded the number of advertised vacancies by 7.3 million.

We’ve highlighted some state/regional trends: Advertised vacancies drop in all 50 States in January; Only two States (North Dakota and Wyoming) continue to have favorable Supply/Demand rates (fewer unemployed persons than advertised vacancies). We’ve also found that labor demand is down over 30 percent from a year ago for a wide range of occupations and that job demand is hard hit in Transportation & Material Moving; Office & Administrative Support; Legal; Business & Finance; Construction; Management; and Food-related work.

Online job demand for Healthcare Support occupations shows some strength with modest decline of 5,000. In addition, 50 of the top 52 Metro areas post over-the-year declines in job demand in January. Honolulu labor demand rose 1,400 over last year levels, while Oklahoma City gained a modest 500 advertised vacancies. The New York metro area, while continuing to post the largest number of advertised vacancies (165,700), had 96,700 fewer ads than in January 2008. Washington, D.C., an area that has exhibited strength over the last few months, was down slightly (-11,600).

The two metro areas in which the respective numbers of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed were Salt Lake City and Washington, DC. On the other hand, metro areas in which the respective number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies are Riverside, CA, where there are over 7 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (7.4), Detroit (5.3), Miami (3.4), Tampa (3.3), Sacramento (3.3), Los Angeles (3.2) and Atlanta (3.1). Supply/Demand rate data is for November 2008, the latest month for which unemployment data are available.


The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series™ 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 July 2008 and 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 October 1, 2008 release, HWOL began providing seasonally adjusted data for the U.S., the 9 Census regions and 50 States. This data series, for which the earliest data is May 2005, continues to publish not seasonally adjusted data for 52 large metropolitan areas and occupations. It is The Conference Board’s intent to provide seasonally adjusted data for both large metro areas and occupations 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

Non-partisan and not-for-profit, The Conference Board is the world’s leading business membership and research organization. The Conference Board produces The Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading Economic Indicators for the U.S. and other major nations. These barometers can have a major impact on the financial markets. The Conference Board also produces a wide range of authoritative reports on corporate governance and ethics, human resources and diversity, executive compensation and corporate citizenship. Our conference and council programs bring together more than 10,000 senior executives each year to share insights and learn from each other. Visit The Conference Board’s website at

WANTED Technologies Corporation.

WANTED is a leading supplier of real-time sales and business intelligence solutions for the media classified and recruitment industries. Using its proprietary On-Demand data mining, lead generation and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integrated technologies, WANTED aggregates real-time data from thousands of online job boards, real estate and newspaper sites, as well as corporate Web sites on a daily basis.

WANTED’s data is used to optimize sales and to implement marketing strategies within the classified ad departments of major media organizations, as well as by staffing firms, advertising agencies and human resources specialists. For more information, please visit: