Conference Board Supplies More Evidence The Labor Market Is Recovering

by: Mark J. Perry

From Monday's Conference Board report on online labor demand:

Online advertised vacancies rose 90,900 in April to 4,760,500, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLin (HWOL) Data Series released today (see chart above). The April rise is the fifth consecutive monthly rise and has led to the series' highest level to date. The Supply/Demand rate stands at 2.7 unemployed for every vacancy, and the number of unemployed was 8 million above the number of advertised vacancies.

"Labor demand continues its five-month upward trend, which has averaged about 113,000 vacancies per month," said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board. "This is welcome news for unemployed workers or those looking to change jobs." In another positive development, labor demand in two of the traditional white-collar office professions - Legal and Office and Administrative Support - has picked up this year. Legal professions, in which demand dropped sharply in 2011, grew by 5,600 (26%) since January while demand for Office and administrative workers rose 71,100, (17%)."

MP: Both total online job vacancies (4.76 million) and new ads (3.11 million) are now well above their pre-recession levels (see chart above); total ads by 6% and new ads by 20% above 2007 peak levels. Nationally, there are 12.673 million unemployed and 4.669 million online job vacancies for a Supply/Demand ratio of 2.71, which was the third month in a row below 3.0, and the lowest since the fall of 2008, more than three years ago. Interestingly, the number of unemployed workers in booming North Dakota (11,800) is less than the number of advertised vacancies (14,400), for an eye-popping Supply/Demand rate of only 0.82.

Monday's Conference Board report provides more evidence that the labor market is gradually recovering. With the number of online job vacancies in April well above its pre-recession peak levels in 2007, we can expect increased hiring through the year and a lower jobless rate.