The number of new online job ads declined by 184,700 in November to 1.82 million, dipping below 2 million for the first time since July, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series.

The November data are the sum of the number of unduplicated new, first-time, online job ads posted each day of the month on more than 1,200 Internet job boards. This figure is down 9.2 percent from October. The November decline, which reflects in part the effect of the Thanksgiving holiday, follows a dip of 1.7 percent in October.

In November there were 1.21 online job ads per 100 persons in the U.S. labor force, compared with 1.34 in October, 1.36 in September and 1.43 per 100 persons in August.

“Historically, job advertising drops off in the months of November and December,” said Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board. “This online series does not have a long enough history to seasonally adjust the data.

“However, we know from The Conference Board’s long running Help-Wanted Index for print ads, as well as the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job vacancy index (JOLTS), that businesses typically decrease their recruitment in the last two months of the year,” Goldstein said. “This seasonal November decline typically reflects the Thanksgiving holiday and a slowdown in recruitments after a seasonal upturn in the late summer/early fall. Year-end budget constraints may also play a role if funds are short for paid advertisements. Nationally, the downturn in new online ad volume the week before and the week of Thanksgiving more than offset the modest increases in the other weeks in November.”

Ad volume was down in all of the nine census regions in November, ranging from a decline of 6.3 percent in the Middle Atlantic region to 15.6 percent in the Pacific region. The East North Central (down 14.1 percent), New England (down 10.7 percent) and East South Central (down 15.2 percent) regions included declines in all of the major metropolitan areas covered by this data series.

The monthly change in new job ads was a bit more mixed in the other regions. The Mountain region, which declined 11.2 percent overall, includes the Denver, Phoenix and Tucson metro areas, which posted gains, while Salt Lake and Las Vegas were down. In the South Atlantic region (down 10.5 percent), Miami posted modest gains in November while the other Florida metro areas of Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando were down for the month along with Atlanta and Norfolk/Virginia Beach. Gains in Minneapolis-St. Paul were a bright spot in the West North Central region, which declined 10.2 percent.

Adjusting job ads for the size of the local labor force, Denver with 2.79 job ads per 100 persons in the labor force edged out San Francisco (2.63 ads per 100) to lead the way among the 52 metropolitan areas for which data is published. Following closely are San Jose (2.6), San Diego (2.58), Boston (2.55), and Washington, D.C. (2.4). “The number of job ads per 100 participants in the labor force is consistently highest on the West and East coasts and in the Mountain area,” Goldstein said. The lowest number of online job ads per 100 persons in the labor force in November was in Detroit (0.65), followed by Rochester, N.Y. (0.76).

First-time online job ads in the New Orleans area increased 42 percent in November, reflecting the demand for labor in the area that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in the late summer. The two industries posting the largest volume of new ads were hospitals and ambulatory healthcare services, followed by specialty trade contractors. “The healthcare area is in need of a wide range of workers,” Goldstein said. “There are new ads for doctors, nurses and technicians, as well as the full range of support personnel from top executives and management jobs to records clerks, secretaries, food service and general administrative support.”

Overall, new online ads were down in the West South Central region (14.2 percent) in November, reflecting declines in ads for workers in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Other than New Orleans, ad volume was down in all of the metro areas for which data is reported separately, including Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio in Texas, and Oklahoma City in Oklahoma.

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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