Online advertised vacancies rose a modest 47,400 in November to 4,457,200 following an increase of 113,700 in October, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Data Series released today. The nation's Supply/Demand rate stood at 3.37 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in October (the last available unemployment data) -- a figure that is down from a peak of 4.73 in October 2009. Nationally, there are 10.4 million more unemployed than advertised vacancies.

"In November, demand for workers continued to be positive, albeit moving at a disappointingly slow pace for the last few months," said June Shelp, vice president at The Conference Board. "November was a surprisingly quiet month throughout the nation, with most states posting small gains / losses in advertised vacancies. In this weak U.S. economic recovery, office help, construction jobs, and positions in business and finance continue to show very sluggish growth."


  • November marked modest movement in labor demand in all states with gains / declines of less than 1,000 in many States.  
  • Gains strongest in the Western States (+ 20,000), led by California (+8,000)

For the second month in a row, the West experienced the largest gain of 20,000. California was the largest contributor with an increase of 8,000. Labor demand has risen 78,000 in the past five months in California. Office and Administrative Support occupations and Management occupations were two of the State's largest contributors to the rise. Arizona and Washington gained 3,600 and 1,400 respectively, while Colorado declined by 200 in November.Among the smaller states, Oregon rose 900, Nevada fell by 1,700, Hawaii declined by 600, and Alaska and New Mexico both held steady.

The Midwest experienced a small decline, 2,300, this month. In November, Ohio declined by 1,400. Labor demand in Illinois declined 3,200. Michigan experienced the country's largest decline, 5,000. Michigan's Supply/Demand rate is now at 5.75, down from the high of 10.2 in July 2009. Wisconsin gained 2,500. Minnesota grew by 500 this month while Missouri fell by 400. Among the states with smaller populations, Indiana boosted its demand by 2,100, while North Dakota gained 200.

The South declined by 5,600 in November, but at the same time several large states showed signs of growth.  Maryland rose by 5,500, and Virginia increased by 1,700 -- the first gains for both states in several months. Texas continues to show steady slow growth with the addition of 2,200. Georgia had a significant decrease, 4,400. Florida was basically unchanged in November (+300). North Carolina fell by 1,800.  Among the less populous states in the South, advertised vacancies in Oklahoma declined by 4,400, and Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky remained basically unchanged. While Mississippi has held steady, also note that its Supply/Demand rate is now below 6.00, down from its high of 9.2.

The Northeast held steady this month with a gain of 100. New York declined for the second month in a row by 3,500 from losses in Sales and Related occupations and Management occupations. New Jersey fell by 2,900. Pennsylvania remained steady in November.  Massachusetts gained for the third month in a row (1,700). Among the smaller States, Connecticut gained 1,400, Maine rose 900, and New Hampshire rose 500. Vermont and Rhode Island declined 400 and 200 respectively.

The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in October (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 3.37, indicating that there were more than 3 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. Nationally, there are 10.4 million more unemployed workers than advertised vacancies. The number of advertised vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed in only North Dakota, where the Supply/Demand rate was 0.90.  States with the next lowest rates include South Dakota (1.24), Alaska (1.38), and Nebraska (1.40), where the Supply/Demand rates reflected the fact that there was just over one unemployed for every online advertised vacancy.  States with the highest Supply/Demand rates are Mississippi (5.91) and Michigan (5.75), where there are almost 6 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy. Although still among the highest in the nation, Michigan's S/D rate has improved significantly from the peak of 10.2 in July 2009, when there were just over 10 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy.  Other states with high S/D rates are Indiana (4.97) and Florida (4.66).

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.


Demand in November for:

  • Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations up 12,400
  • Transportation and material positions rise 9,600
  • Sales and related workers slips by 32,100, and Management positions (largely for sales areas) down 10,900

Among the top 10 occupation groups with the largest numbers of online advertised vacancies, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations posted the largest November increase, up 12,400 to 555,500. The rise was largely due to increases in advertised vacancies for Family and General Practitioners. The number of advertised vacancies in this broad healthcare occupational category continues to outnumber job seekers by almost three to one. Healthcare Support remained steady. There were 2.4 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in healthcare support.

Management occupations posted a November decrease of 10,900 to 586,600 following a rise of 20,200 in October and a drop of 11,500 in September. The November decline was largely due to decreases in demand for Sales Managers and Postsecondary Education Administrators. The ratio between the number of unemployed looking for work and advertised vacancies was slightly over one job-seeker for each advertised vacancy.

Demand for Sales and Related occupations declined by 32,100 to 449,600. The drop is largely due to a decline of 10,000 in the demand for First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Retail Sales Workers. There were 3.3 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in Sales and Related occupations.

Demand for Transportation and Material Moving occupations grew by 9,600 to 159,000 and was led by an increased demand for Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery Services. There still remain over 7 unemployed (7.3) looking for work in Transportation and Material Moving for every advertised opening.

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 Computer and Mathematical Science (0.26), Healthcare Practitioners (0.38), and Life, Physical, and Social Science occupations (0.60). On the other hand, in Food Preparation and Serving-Related occupations, there were over 9 people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (9.4) and there were over 7 unemployed looking for work in Transportation and Material Moving positions for every advertised opening (7.3).


  • Washington, D.C., Oklahoma City, Baltimore, and Honolulu have the lowest Supply/Demand rates; Washington, D.C. is the one area in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeds the number of unemployed
  • Online advertised vacancies in all of the 52 largest metropolitan areas are above last year's levels

In November, all of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted over-the-year increases in the number of online advertised vacancies.  Among the three metro areas with the largest numbers of advertised vacancies, the New York metro area was 22 percent above its November 2009 level, the Washington, D.C. metro area was 12 percent above its November 2009 level, and the Los Angeles metro area was 24 percent above last year's level.

The number of unemployed exceeded the number of advertised vacancies in 51 of the 52 metro areas for which information is reported separately; Washington, D.C. was the exception. Oklahoma City, Baltimore and Honolulu were the locations with the next 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 Riverside, Calif. -- where there are almost 10 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (9.7) -- Detroit (5.7), Miami (5.2), and Sacramento (4.9). Supply/Demand rate data are for September 2010, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.