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February 02, 2009
Online Help-Wanted Ads Plunge

The volume of online advertised job vacancies declined by 506,000 in January, according to a report by the Conference Board.

Over the last two months, online advertised job vacancies fell by more than 1 million, or 23 percent.

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“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 the outlook for the coming months is for continued large job losses, according to the Conference Board. “If there is any bright spot,” Levanon noted, “it is that there are still well over 3 million advertised vacancies.”

The list of occupations experiencing severe declines in labor demand included both high-paying occupations like management where wages average over $46.00/hour to lower-paying occupations like transportation & material moving at $14.75/hour and food service jobs averaging $9.35/hour.

In January, there were 348,500 online advertised vacancies for management positions, a decline of 175,800 or 34 percent from last January's level. Demand for office and administrative support job positions dropped 156,900 to 274,700 and were 36 percent below the January 2008 level. Computer and mathematical job ads were down 104,200 to 391,000 over the same period. Other categories showing severe declines included sales and related jobs (-97,800), business & finance (-90,300), and architecture and engineering (-56,100).

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