"The September and October numbers are a further indication that, thus far, the recovery is weak," said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. "Labor demand is a leading indicator of employment, and the numbers indicate that employment is not likely to rise for the rest of this year." While there are fewer layoffs and some states, like Maryland and New York, have a modestly upward trend, overall the labor market remains quite anemic. "The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is about 11.8 million, with 4.5 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy," said Levanon.
Regional and State Highlights
- New York and New Jersey both show a modest upward trend in job demand
- In the South, job trend is positive in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia
- Trend in job demand is basically flat in the largest states in the West
In the South, October online advertised vacancies fell by 28,500, following a 45,400 September loss. All of the most populous Southern states decreased. Texas dropped by 7,900 in October; its September and October drops more than offset its August gain. Florida, which in September had dropped 9,400, dropped another 8,300 in October. With respect to the longer-term trends among the larger states in the South, Texas and Florida are basically flat while job demand in Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland has turned up. Since January 2009, advertised vacancies in Florida have been basically flat, rising less than 7,000. Among the less populous states in the South, in October Louisiana decreased by 1,700, Arkansas decreased by 1,200, Kentucky decreased by 1,000, Alabama and West Virginia increased modestly (400 and 100 respectively), and advertised vacancies in Oklahoma remained unchanged.
The Northeast was the region with the smallest decline in October, down 6,000, where dips in some of the larger states were partially offset by gains in the states with smaller populations. New Jersey showed the largest decrease, down 4,700 to 126,200, in October. Massachusetts decreased by 2,800 to 102,400. Online job demand in New York, which has shown relative strength in labor demand since April 2009, dipped by 700 in October. Pennsylvania decreased by 1,800 to 124,200. Among the states with smaller populations, in October Connecticut increased by 1,200, Rhode Island increased by 700, and Maine increased modestly (300). Vermont decreased modestly (300), and New Hampshire remained unchanged.
In the West, California fell by 3,700 in October. Arizona dropped 3,400 in October while Washington and Colorado dropped slightly (700 and 500 respectively). In spite of the October declines, the trend for all of the most populous states in the West is basically flat. Among the states with smaller populations, New Mexico and Nevada fell 2,200 and 600 respectively while Hawaii rose by 700.
In the Midwest, Illinois declined by 7,400 in October. Ohio, which lost 1,900 in September, lost another 2,900 in October. Missouri lost 2,000 and fell to its lowest level since April. Michigan gained a modest 200, and Wisconsin remained unchanged.
The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in September (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 4.50, up slightly from 4.31 in August and indicating that there are now 4.5 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. Among the states, the highest Supply/Demand rate continues to be in Michigan (10.60), where there are nearly 11 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy. Other states where there are over 6 unemployed for every advertised vacancy are Kentucky (7.32), Mississippi (6.56), California (6.14), and Indiana (6.11). States with some of the lowest rates include: Nebraska (1.62) and Alaska (1.63), Virginia (1.92) and Maryland (1.94).
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.
- Labor demand for Sales professions and Business and Finance occupations rises in October
- Demand for both healthcare practitioners and healthcare support occupation drops in October
Among the top 10 occupations in October with online advertised vacancies, Sales and Related occupations, which have remained relatively flat over the last six months, experienced the largest gain, rising 46,100 in October. Job demand was up in a wide variety of sales functions including retail sales workers, first-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers, and financial services sales agents. Business and Finance, which declined throughout this year, increased 21,800 in October, in large part reflecting an increased demand for management analysts. Computer and Mathematical Science occupations rose 7,200 to 409,200, with increased demand for computer systems engineers. An increase in online advertised vacancies for executive secretaries, administrative assistants, and medical secretaries contributed to the 3,200 increase in the Office and Administrative Support occupations.
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations, the largest category in terms of volume, dropped 68,900 in October to 535,600. Labor demand for Healthcare Support occupations also declined in October, down 9,400 to 104,400. Healthcare is a broad field, and the relative tightness of the labor market varies substantially from the higher-paying practitioner and technical jobs to the lower-paying support occupations. In September, the last month for which unemployment data are available, for every unemployed person looking for work in a practitioner or technical occupation, there were 2.7 advertised vacancies and the average wage in these occupations is $32.64/hour. In healthcare support occupations, where the average wage is $12.66, there were over two unemployed for every advertised vacancy.
Advertised vacancies in Management occupations were down 56,000 in October to 353,700. Individual occupations showing the largest decreases included managers in a variety of areas, including sales managers and managers for computer and information systems, human resources, medical and health services, and postsecondary education administrators. The number of unemployed exceeds the number of advertised vacancies, and in September there were over two unemployed (2.04) for every online advertised vacancy in the management field.
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 Healthcare Practitioners (0.4) and Computer and Mathematical Science (0.6). On the other hand, in Sales and Related Occupations, there were four people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (3.99) and there were nearly six unemployed looking for work in Office and Administrative Support positions for every advertised opening (5.6).
METRO AREA HIGHLIGHTS
- Washington, DC, Salt Lake City, and Baltimore have the lowest Supply/Demand rates
- Online advertised vacancies in Washington, DC are at last year's levels
In October, all of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted over-the-year decreases 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 10 percent below its October 2008 level and the Los Angeles metro area was about 22 percent below its October 2008 level. Washington, D.C. was down 200, roughly in line with last year's level.
The number of unemployed exceeded the number of advertised vacancies in all of the 52 metro areas for which information is reported separately. Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, and Baltimore were the locations with the most favorable supply/demand rates, where the number of unemployed looking for work was only slightly larger than the number of advertised vacancies. On the other hand, metro areas in which the respective number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies include Detroit, MI, where there are nearly 12 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (11.9), Riverside (10.3), Miami (6.5), Los Angeles (5.5), Sacramento (5.5), Louisville (5.1), and Memphis (5.1). Supply/Demand rate data are for September 2009, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.