Conference Board: Online Job Postings Plunge

Group says job demand is down 23 percent in the last two months, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the growing numbers of unemployed workers find new jobs.

NEW YORK -- Online advertised vacancies dropped 506,000 to 3,355,000 in January, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series (HWOL). The loss in January, combined with the 507,000 drop in December, results in a decline of over 1 million advertised vacancies, or 23 percent, in the past two months.

"The very sharp declines in advertised vacancies throughout the nation in the last two months are clearly making it increasingly hard for those who are unemployed to find new positions," said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. "An expected increase in the unemployment numbers coming out at the end of this week, combined with this sharp January drop in labor demand, will widen the labor supply/demand gap. In December, the number of unemployed looking for work already exceeded the number of advertised vacancies by 7.3 million."

The sharply lower labor demand is maintaining a strong downward pressure on employment levels, and more large job losses are expected in the coming months.

For January, labor demand fell in all four regions of the nation -- the Northeast, South, MidWest, and the West. Only North Dakota and Wyoming have fewer unemployed persons than advertised vacancies.

Texas (36,300), New York (30,700), and Ohio (20,200) were among the states that had the largest drop in labor demand.

A downward trend in employer demand and the monthly increases in unemployment is widening the gap in the supply/demand balance in most states, meaning it is becoming increasingly difficult for the unemployed to find jobs. The supply/demand rate for the U.S. has been increasing and in December, the rate was at 2.88, or close to three unemployed for every online advertised vacancy.

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