Online Advertised Job Vacancies Fall Sharply in April

May 6, 2008

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In April there were 3,649,900 online advertised job vacancies, a 16.4% decline from the April 2007 level – and the second consecutive month of year-over-year declines – according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series.

In April, there were 2.4 advertised vacancies posted online for every 100 persons in the labor force, down from a high of 2.9 in April 2007, according to the data.

Even for the six states that posted gains the pace of growth has slowed, the Conference Board said.

“April is a month when we normally see employers increasing their recruitment, but this year it actually declined” said Gad Levanon, economist at The Conference Board. “The lack of new job opportunities is contributing to consumers’ feelings of uncertainty and is affecting their buying intentions.”

The National & Regional Picture

  • In April, 2,591,500 of the 3,649,900 unduplicated online advertised vacancies were new ads that did not appear in March, while the remainder are reposted ads from the previous month.
  • In April, a month expected to show a seasonal increase in labor demand, the number of total online advertised vacancies declined 2% while new ads rose 2% from March.
  • The weak labor demand is clear in the April year-over-year numbers: Total ads fell 16.4% and new ads dropped 10.6%. Both declines are the largest year-over-year declines since the HWOL series began in May 2005.
  • The monthly national decrease in advertised vacancies between March and April ’08 reflected deterioration in ads in all nine Census regions. Moreover, the year-over-year growth rates in each of the nine Census regions turned negative in April.

State Highlights

The number of advertised vacancies declined from April 2007 to April 2008 in 44 states (compared with 14 states in March 2008), and all the states underwent a slowing in the year-over-year growth rate. The March employment data released by the BLS indicates that all 50 states also experienced a slowing in their year-over-year growth rate of employment.

  • States where job seekers are continuing to see a large number of advertised vacancies include Alaska, Nevada and Massachusetts.
  • Alaska posted 4.45 online advertised vacancies for every 100 persons in the state labor force, the highest rate in the nation. Alaska has held the number-one position for eight months in a row.

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  • Nevada (4.09) and Massachusetts (3.97) were close behind in the number of advertised vacancies when adjusted for the size of the state labor force.
  • Half of the top 10 states with the highest ads rate are along the Eastern seaboard, and in addition to Massachusetts, include Delaware (3.96), Maryland (3.67), Vermont (3.53) and Connecticut (3.48).
  • Online advertised vacancies in California, the state with the largest labor force in the nation, totaled 491,400 in April. The ad volume in California dropped by over 231,000 ads, 32% below the April 2007 level.

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  • The volume of online advertised vacancies in Texas (309,900) was down 12% and ads in New York (268,000) were down 15% from year ago levels.

In terms of the supply/demand ratio (unemployed/advertised vacancies) – using the latest unemployment data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (March data) -? the states with the most favorable (i.e., lowest) supply/demand rates were Delaware (0.93), Maryland (0.95) and Arizona (1.02).

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  • In April, there were only two states where the number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed (e.g., a supply/demand rate less than 1.0). This is down from the previous month, when four states had a supply/demand rate less than 1.0, and well below the peak of 11 states with a supply/demand rate less than 1.0 in July 2007.
  • For the nation as a whole, the comparable supply/demand rate for March was 2.15, indicating that for every two unemployed people looking for work, there was only one online advertised vacancy.
  • States where the number of unemployed persons looking for work significantly exceeded the number of online advertised vacancies included Tennessee (3.06), Indiana (3.54), Kentucky (3.71), Michigan (4.93), and Mississippi (5.17).

Occupational Focus

“Many jobs in high demand are also, on average, among the highest paying occupations,” said Levanon. Healthcare practitioners (238,500) and Management (195,800) are the two occupations with the most number of ads posted online.

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According to the latest federal hourly wage data, wages average about $30 for healthcare practitioners and above $44 an hour for management.

Also in high demand are occupation in computer and mathematical (180,400), business and financial operations (173,000) and office and administrative support (170,500).

Metro Area Highlights

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In April, 49 of the 52 metro areas for which data is reported separately posted a smaller number of advertised vacancies than last year.

The deterioration in the job market in some of the nation’s largest metro areas is further reflected in comparing the number of unemployed to the number of advertised vacancies:? Since July 2007, the number of metro areas with a supply/demand rate of less than one has fallen from 23 areas to ten areas.

The top metro areas in March as measured by most advertised vacancies per 100 persons in the local labor force included Austin (5.40), Milwaukee (5.34), San Jose (5.12), San Francisco (4.88), and Denver (4.64).

About the data: 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. This 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. The Conference Board, as a standard practice with new data series, considers the estimates in The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series to be developmental.

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