New online job ads across the United States increased to 2.57 million in August, with New England leading the growth, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series, released today.

Last month’s supply of online job ads grew by 239,905, or 10 percent, from the previous month and rose 20.8 percent from the August 2005 level.

In August, there were 1.71 online job ads per 100 persons in the U.S. labor force, compared with 1.55 in July 2006 and 1.63 in June.

“The 10 percent August increase is consistent with the seasonal rise one would expect at the end of the summer as many employers start gearing up for fall,” said Gad Levanon, economist at The Conference Board. “In the last few months, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics data on job openings has been signaling a weakening employment outlook. The August online job ads are a bit more of a positive signal, with job ads staying in line with what we would expect for this time of year.”

New online job ads rose in all nine Census regions in August from their July levels. Four regions posted increases above the national average, with the largest increases in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) and the Middle Atlantic region (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania), up 16 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The Pacific region was up 13 percent, while the East North Central region, which includes Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, rose 12 percent. The East South Central (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee) and West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) regions posted the smallest increases in the nation with increases of 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

For the eighth consecutive month, New England remains the region with the highest number of new online jobs per 100 persons (2.64), while the East South Central continues to have the lowest (1.01).

Adjusting job ads for the size of the local labor force, San Diego for the second month in a row was the only metropolitan area with more than 4 job ads per 100 persons in the labor force. Other metropolitan areas with a large number of ads per 100 persons in the labor force were concentrated on the East and West coasts and include San Francisco (3.94), Seattle-Tacoma (3.98), Boston (3.87) and San Jose (3.56). In August, the Detroit metropolitan area with less than one online job ad per 100 persons in the labor force (0.9) had the lowest number of ads adjusted for the labor force.

On an annual basis, the number of new job ads was up in all Census regions. The largest gains are concentrated in the West and Southwestern parts of the country. The largest increase was in the West South Central region, up 41 percent over the year. The data for this region, especially Louisiana, still reflect the pre- and post-hurricane economies in the area. Other areas with substantial year-over-year gains in online job ads were the Mountain and Pacific regions (up 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively).

Year-over-year increases lagged behind the national average in the Middle Atlantic region, up 11.2 percent, and the 2.6 percent rise in the East South Central region was significantly below the national average. “This OnLine Series is still very new and in a developmental stage, making the regional year-over-year changes something that should be interpreted with caution,” Levanon said.

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