Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Online Job Openings Rise in May

The Conference Board reported June 1 that online advertisements for job openings rose by 250,000 to 3,367,000. It was the first increase since October’s small 21,000 ad increase and the largest since October 2006.  The New York-based Conference Board, which provides research on business trends, tracks monthly Internet job advertisements via its Help-Wanted Online Data Series.

These online postings offer one measure of the strength of the job market. The report found that 43 of 50 states posted gains in Internet job ads and that labor demand has increased or leveled off in such states as New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia and Maryland.

Gad Levanon, senior economist for The Conference Board, saw positive signs in the report. The May bounce in labor demand is a very welcome sign.” Lebanon said, “April and May are both months when businesses typically step up their demand for workers. This year, while April was weak, by May employers were placing ads for workers in numerous locations across the nation. Over the last four months, there are now about a half-dozen states where the drop in labor demand shows signs of leveling off and another handful of states show some very moderate increases. Labor demand typically leads the trend in both employment and unemployment, so positive signals on labor demand are always important."

But Lebanon also said that unemployment was likely to continue rising, albeit at “more modest levels throughout the summer.” He added: “April (the May numbers are released on June 5), there were 10.6 million more unemployed workers than advertised vacancies.”

Indeed, there were 4.4 unemployed people for every one online job advertisement – up from 4.05 to one in March. Michigan had the worst ratio of roughly nine unemployed people for every one advertised opening. Maryland and Virginia were best with two to one ratios. Those states have heavy concentrations of Federal agencies and organizations working closely with them. Government has been among the stronger sectors for hiring over the past 18 months. 

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