The number of new online job ads rose to 2.13 million in August, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series, up more than 4 percent from early summer (June 2005), with gains in eight of the nine Census regions.

The Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series measures the number of new online job ads posted on more than 1,200 major Internet job boards and smaller job boards that serve niche markets and smaller geographic areas.

Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board, noted that the August data largely reflect the job-ad situation prior to Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi on Aug. 29.

San Francisco and Salt Lake City, with more than 3 new online ads per 100 persons in the labor force, posted the highest number of ads when adjusted by the labor force of the local area. Labor-force participants include employed persons as well as those actively seeking work. Expressing job ads in terms of the size of the local labor force provides more perspective on the numbers, Goldstein said.

While the New England, Mountain and Pacific regions have about 2 new online job ads per 100 persons in the labor force, the West South Central and East South Central remain at half that rate – with 1 new online job ad per 100 in the labor force.

Within regions, the new metropolitan data also reveal notable differences. In the New England area, Boston posts almost 3 (2.88) new ads per 100 in the labor force, while there are slightly less than 2 ads per 100 in Hartford, Conn. (1.93) and Providence, R.I. (1.83).

Differences within and between regions reflect both variations in the propensity to use online technology for job searches as well as job vacancies. The West South Central region includes Austin, Texas, with almost 2 ads per 100 (1.88), compared to New Orleans with less than one ad (0.61) per 100 persons in the labor force. “August data for the Gulf Coast were, no doubt, held down in part by the impending hurricane,” Goldstein said. “Any impact from Hurricane Katrina’s actual destruction would not significantly impact this data.”

Like The Conference Board’s long-running Help-Wanted Advertising Index of print ads (which has been published since 1951), the new online series is not a direct measure of job vacancies. The level of ads in both print and online may change for reasons not related to overall job demand.

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