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Quote of the Day

"To appreciate beauty; to give of one's self, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived -- that is to have succeeded."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Conference Board Reports Online Job Demand Up 169,000 in August

(September 1, 2009)

    - Employer job demand picked up in August, rising 169,000 or 5 percent
    - Large States post solid increases and advertised vacancies up in most States in August
    - Occupations: Advertised vacancies in Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations increased in August, and this group experienced the lowest supply/demand rate
Online advertised vacancies rose by 169,000 to 3,464,800 in August, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series (HWOL)(TM). Since April 2009, online job demand is up by 300,000, with many of the largest States now showing stable trends following about two years of losses that began in May 2007. With the August data, there are now three States (New York, Maryland and Virginia) where the job demand trends have turned positive. The August increase included strong gains in several of the largest states, including California (26,700), Texas (21,900), Florida (15,700) and New York (11,100).

"The August increase is good news showing what we hope will be a continued improvement in job demand this fall," said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. August job demand data are in-line with The Conference Board's recently released Consumer Confidence Index which also rose in August, largely reflecting consumers' feelings that jobs were becoming easier to find. "While all of this is good news, the gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies still remains at about 11 million, with over four unemployed for every online advertised job vacancy," said Levanon.

Regional and State Highlights
    - August shows increases in all of the largest States
    - Large August increases in job demand in CA, TX, FL and NY
    - Online job demand finally appears to be stabilizing in the West following a long period of large losses
In the South, online advertised vacancies rose by 60,800 in August. Texas, which has been slower to show growth in labor demand, posted the largest August increase (up 21,900 to 240,500) and the overall trend in job demand in the state has been flat since April 2009. Florida, where job demand has been flat in 2009, rose 15,700 in August to 181,400. Two states in the region with positive trends in job demand are Virginia and Maryland, up 7,400 and 3,200 respectively in August. Among the smaller states in the South, West Virginia increased by 2,500 and Louisiana increased by 1,400, while Alabama and Arkansas increased modestly (600 and 500 respectively). Kentucky remained unchanged at 30,700, and Oklahoma decreased by 2,400 in August.

In the Northeast, New York showed the largest increase, up 11,100 to 228,500 in August and has shown a modest upward trend with advertised vacancies up 40,900 over the last five months. Pennsylvania rose 9,200 to 133,900, and New Jersey was up 9,100 to 127,100. Massachusetts increased by 7,500. Among the states with smaller populations in the region, Connecticut increased the most (3,400) and Vermont and Maine increased modestly while New Hampshire and Rhode Island had modest declines.

"In the West, the good news is that after a long period of decline, job demand has stabilized in several of the large states," said Levanon. Online advertised vacancies in California, the largest state in the nation, rose 26,700 to 387,300 in August. Arizona and Colorado rose 2,800 and 2,400 respectively. In August, Washington State was up 6,800 to 89,800. Among the states with smaller populations, Hawaii and New Mexico dipped by 700 and 600 respectively. Nevada was basically unchanged, having gained 200 in August.

Several states in the Midwest have shifted in the last few months from downward trends to flat, including Illinois, which rose 7,600 to 126,900 in August. Ohio increased 6,700 to 107,000 and Missouri was up 1,700 to 63,300. Other Midwestern states with August increases included Wisconsin, up 6,200, Michigan, up 4,600, and Minnesota, up 4,500.

The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in July (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 4.39, down slightly from 4.47 in May and indicating that there are now just under 4.4 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. Among the states, the highest Supply/Demand rate and the highest recorded since the HWOL series began in May 2005 is in Michigan (10.83), or close to 11 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy. Other states where there are over 6 unemployed for every advertised vacancy are Indiana (7.54), Kentucky (7.40), Mississippi (6.84), Ohio (6.62), South Carolina (6.26), North Carolina (6.16), and California (6.06). North Dakota (1.47) and Alaska (1.56) have some of the lowest rates.

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.

    - Among top 10 online advertised occupations, healthcare jobs post the largest increases
    - Labor demand continues to remain well below year-ago levels for most occupations
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations, the largest category in terms of volume, rose 52,700 in August to 574,400. "Advertised vacancies in this occupational category have been declining, and the August increase is the first significant monthly rise we have seen in over a year," said Levanon. On the other hand, labor demand for Healthcare Support occupations has remained relatively steady over the last two years and in August rose 16,500, or 16 percent, to 117,800. Individual occupations showing increases included physical and occupational therapists, physical and occupational therapist assistants, speech-language pathologists, home healthcare aids, medical assistants, and registered and practical nurses.

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 July, the last month for which unemployment data are available, for every unemployed person looking for work in a practitioner or technical occupation, there were 2.5 advertised vacancies and the average wage in these occupations is $32.64/hour. In healthcare support occupations, where the average wage is $12.66, there were over two unemployed for every advertised vacancy.

Advertised vacancies in Management occupations have trended upward since May and in August rose 18,900, or 5 percent, to 431,600. The number of unemployed still exceeds the number of advertised vacancies, and in July there were almost two unemployed (1.7) for every online advertised vacancy in the management field. The Management jobs with the largest August increases include medical and health service managers and food service managers.

Among the top 10 occupations in August with online advertised vacancies, Computer and Mathematical Science rose 8,800 to 406,800; Sales and Related occupations rose 6,200 to 382,100; and Office and Administrative Support rose 7,400 to 347,100. Only two of the top 10 occupation categories dipped in August, Business and Financial operations, down 2,100 to 174,900, and Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media, down 1,100 to 100,800. Job demand for Architecture and Engineering was unchanged at 117,700.

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 (0.4) and Computer and Mathematical Science (0.6). On the other hand, in Sales and Related Occupations, there were almost four people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (3.5) and there were nearly five unemployed looking for work in Office and Administrative Support positions for every advertised opening (4.8).

    - 47 of top 52 Metro areas post over-the-year declines in job demand in August
    - Virginia Beach labor demand up 1,200 over last year's levels, Tampa gains 600, Riverside gains 500, Orlando gains 400, and Providence remains constant
In August, only 5 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted over-the-year increases in the number of online advertised vacancies. Virginia Beach, with 21,100 ads, was above last year's level (6 percent). Tampa, with 34,400, gained 600 advertised vacancies compared to last year. Riverside, with 25,800, gained 500. Orlando, with 30,900, gained a modest 400. Providence showed no change from last year. Among the three metro areas with the largest numbers of advertised vacancies, the New York metro area was about 14 percent below its August 2008 level and the Los Angeles metro area was 19 percent below its August 2008 level. Washington, D.C. was down 1,400, or 0.8 percent, from 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. and Salt Lake City 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. (Table C) On the other hand, metro areas in which the respective number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies include Detroit, MI, where there are nearly 12 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (11.9), Riverside (10.1), Miami (6.6), Chicago (5.7), and Sacramento (5.5). Supply/Demand rate data are for July 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 August 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 October 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: http://www.conference-board.org/economics/helpwantedOnline.cfm?source=interbiznet.

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, www.bls.gov.

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 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: http://www.wantedtech.com.


Job boards specializing in health are surviving the recession better than most others, so the highlight on healthcare in this report is no surprise. Just a glance at what's available in healthcare jobs, makes you wonder what's wrong with our economy that we could have such a severe recession with so many positions open.

Colleen Gildea

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