Online Advertised Job Vacancy Annual Growth Continues to Slow

January 3, 2008

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Financial Services | Pharma & Healthcare

Online advertised vacancies in December were down 13% month-to-month due to seasonality, The Conference Board reported, while the year-on-year growth rate, at 6%, was the smallest annual increase since it first issued the data series, in May 2005, it said.

In December there were 3,541,200 online advertised vacancies, a rise of 6% from last December, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series. There were 2.3 advertised vacancies online for every 100 persons in the labor force in Dec., down 13% from Nov.

The monthly decrease in advertised job vacancies was reflected in all of the 50 states and major metropolitan areas.

“The period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year is typically slow in terms of hiring, so it’s not surprising to see a large decline in the number of job ads last month,” said Gad Levanon, Economist at The Conference Board.

“These data suggest that the slow pace in the labor market will continue in the months ahead and is likely to extend into the spring of 2008,” he noted.

Below, the findings released by The Conference Board.

The National and Regional Picture

  • In December, 2,305,100 of the 3,541,200 unduplicated online advertised vacancies were new ads that did not appear in November, while the remainder are reposted ads from the previous month.
  • The 13% month-to-month decrease in total ads in December was caused primarily by a 17.9% decrease in new ads. However year-over-year (Dec. ’06 – Dec. ’07) total ads and new ads rose 5.9% and 9.7%, respectively.
  • All nine Census regions saw a decline (10-15%) from last month. Dec. ’06 – Dec. ’07, seven of the nine regions continued to show a gain in labor demand. Two exceptions were again the New England and the Pacific regions, where the level of online job ads has been below the previous year level for three months.

State Highlights

  • Alaska posted 4.53 vacancies for every 100 persons in the state labor force, the highest rate in the nation for the fourth month in a row. Nevada (3.98) and Colorado (3.90) were close behind in the number of advertised vacancies. Other states in the top five included Delaware (3.86) and Massachusetts (3.77).


  • Online advertised vacancies in California, the state with the largest labor force in the nation, totaled 502,600 in December. The volume of online advertised vacancies in California was significantly above the next highest states, Texas (314,500), New York (252,100) and Florida (215,400).


  • The states with the most favorable (i.e., lowest) supply/demand ratios  (unemployed/advertised vacancies) included Delaware (0.71), North Dakota (0.75), Utah (0.79), and Virginia (0.81).


  • States where the number of unemployed persons looking for work significantly exceeded the number of online advertised vacancies included Mississippi (4.55) and Michigan (3.99), Arkansas (2.91), Indiana (2.67) and Kentucky (2.67).

Occupational Focus

  • More than 284,000 ads were posted for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations in December.
  • Also in high demand are computer and quantitative skills related occupations (213,200), business and financial occupations (212,000), and office and administrative support (205,700).
  • Management and Business/Financial occupations account for more than 30% of online ads in New York and Illinois.

Metro Area Highlights


  • The top metro areas in December with above five advertised vacancies per 100 persons in the local labor force included Milwaukee (5.31), San Jose (5.30) and Austin (5.07).
  • The number of unemployed persons looking for work was fewer than the number of advertised vacancies in 16 of the 52, or almost one-third, of the metro areas for which data are reported separately.
  • Cities across the nation where the number of advertised vacancies are plentiful in relation to the number of unemployed included Austin, Salt Lake City, Washington DC, Denver, Phoenix and New Orleans.
  • Two of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, New York and Los Angeles, were first and second in the absolute volume of advertised job vacancies in November, with 258,000 and 178,700, respectively.

Note: The Help Wanted Online Data Series is a new developmental program with research and evaluation studies ongoing in a number of areas. The comparisons in the tables between total ads and total unemployed at the various geographic levels are overall counts and it cannot be inferred that the detailed occupation or geographic location of the unemployed matches the occupation or geographic location of the vacancy. Additionally, there may be differences in the way the unemployed person describes his occupation versus the way an employer may describe the same job.

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