Online job ads rebounded sharply in January to 2.16 million new unduplicated online job ads posted for the month, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series. The January total was up 529,000, an increase of 32.5 percent from the December low.

January’s total was slightly higher than the August 2005 monthly peak of 2.13 million, The Conference Board reported.

In January, there were 1.44 online job ads per 100 persons in the U.S. labor force, up from 1.09 in December and 1.21 in November.

Although the data series does not have sufficient history to allow for seasonal adjustments, Ken Goldstein, labor economist at The Conference Board, noted that a large portion of the declines in November and December followed by the bounce back in January reflect seasonal patterns seen in other employment data.

“The fact that the January number is back up to the higher level we saw in August 2005 indicates that the demand for labor is holding steady and seems to have weathered the hurricane and energy-related effects of last fall,” said Goldstein. “The January online help-wanted ad volume is consistent with what we are seeing from the Consumer Confidence Survey. In January, consumers were more upbeat about current economic conditions, and they were especially more positive about the job market.”

January’s ad volume was up over December levels in all of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately. Denver with 3.44 job ads per 100 persons in the labor force had the highest volume of ads adjusted for the size of the local labor force. Other areas with the largest number of ads per 100 persons in the labor force include the West Coast areas of San Francisco (3.21), San Diego (3.12) and Seattle (3.03). On the East Coast, Boston with 2.97 ads per 100 in the labor force and Washington, D.C., with 2.93, have the highest volume. Only two metropolitan areas out of the 52 areas had less than one ad per 100 persons in the labor force – Detroit (0.72) and Rochester, N.Y. (0.89).

January ad volume rose from the previous month in each of the nine Census regions. The strongest month-over-month increases in ad volume were in the New England (40 percent) and West South Central (37 percent) regions. Other regions were in line with the one-third rise for the nation as a whole, with the East South Central and Mid Atlantic regions rising 34 percent, East North Central and the South Atlantic up 32 percent, and the Pacific and Mountain regions up 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series measures the number of new, first-time 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.

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