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Online job vacancies spike

Online advertised vacancies rose by 382,000 to 4.024 million in January, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Data Series released yesterday. The January rise follows a large 255,000 increase in December and a 107,000 rise in November.

These increases now total almost 750,000 over the three-month period and have been widespread across the nation and are consistent with the recent strength in the GDP numbers for the fourth quarter.

“The last three months have shown a sharp upturn in employer demand for workers,” said Gad Levanon, associate director, macroeconomic research at The Conference Board. “These increases have brought us back near the labor demand levels that existed in Nov. 2008 just prior to the huge losses resulting from the financial turmoil in the last quarter of 2008. This is very good news since these seasonally adjusted increases come in two months when we normally see employers cut back on advertising for workers.”

The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies in Dec. 2009, the latest available month of unemployment numbers, stands at 11.6 million, with 4.2 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy.

A number of states post their largest monthly gains since the HWOL series began in 2005: California – 67,600; Florida – 25,500; New York – 20,400; Ohio – 16,600; New Jersey – 13,600

In the West, January online advertised vacancies rose by 122,500 in January with the gain of 67,600 in California. Colorado gained 14,300, its largest monthly gain since April 2007. Arizona rose 13,500, its largest gain to date. Washington rose 7,000. Among the states with smaller populations, Nevada rose 4,100, New Mexico rose 2,800 and Hawaii was up 2,000.

In the South, the region with the second-largest January gain, online advertised vacancies rose by 112,700, reflecting increases in all of the most populous Southern states but Virginia. Texas gained 27,600, its largest gain since Nov. 2005, and Florida gained 25,500, its largest monthly gain to date. North Carolina posted a record monthly increase, up 10,900, while Georgia gained 10,300, its largest gain since Sept. 2007. Maryland was up 2,500. Virginia dropped 4,000 after experiencing its largest gain ever in December. Among the less populous states in the South, in January Oklahoma increased by 6,900, Louisiana increased by 5,900 and advertised vacancies in Kentucky increased by 5,700.

The Midwest was up 88,800, reflecting gains for all of the largest states in the region. Ohio rose 16,600 and Missouri rose 12,100, both posting their largest monthly gains since the HWOL series began in 2005. Illinois gained 14,700, its largest gain since June 2008. Michigan was up 9,100, its largest gain since Dec. 2006. Minnesota gained 8,900, its largest gain since April 2006. Wisconsin rose 8,300, its largest gain since June 2006.

Job demand in the Northeast was up 66,300. New York and New Jersey posted record monthly increases, up 20,400 and 13,600 respectively. Massachusetts increased by 11,500 to 130,000, and Pennsylvania rose by 5,400 to 157,700. Among the states with smaller populations, in January job demand in Connecticut increased by 8,700, Rhode Island was up by 2,400, Maine rose 2,100, New Hampshire was up by 2,000, and Vermont rose 900.

The supply/demand rate for the U.S. in December (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 4.19, down slightly from 4.54 in November and indicating that there are now 4.19 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. Among the states, the highest supply/demand rate continues to be in Michigan (9.07), where there are over nine unemployed people for every advertised vacancy. Other states where there are over six unemployed for every advertised vacancy are Mississippi (7.92), Kentucky (6.88) and Indiana (6.19). States with some of the lowest rates include Nebraska (1.56), South Dakota (1.65) and Alaska (1.69).

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