New Online Help Wanted Ads Increase Over the Past Year

by Jake Procino

July 18, 2022

The number of new online help wanted job ads increased by 28% in Oregon between May 2021 and May 2022, according to the Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) data series. For the entire U.S. over the same time period, new ads increased by 19%.

The number of new ads continues to grow, even as Oregon has rapidly regained 90% of the nonfarm payroll jobs lost in spring 2020. Total nonfarm employment increased by an estimated 81,600, or 4.4%, over the year ending in May 2022. The large volume of new ads joins a competitive hiring market, as unemployment continues to shrink – the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped 2 percentage points over the past 12 months to a historically low 3.6%. There are only an estimated 1.1 unemployed workers for each new online job ad posted in May, the lowest ratio in Oregon since The Conference Board-Burning Glass started tracking new online ads in 2012. 
Across the state, all but one of Oregon’s local workforce areas saw an increase in new ads in May 2022 compared with May 2021. Mid-Valley and Clackamas saw the largest increases at 41% and 36%, respectively, outpacing the statewide gain of 28%. Southwestern Oregon saw the only decline amongst the workforce areas, with new job ads shrinking 11% compared with a year ago.
New online help wanted ads in the HWOL data series, tracked by The Conference Board-Burning Glass, are an indicator of demand for workers. While these ads provide a proxy for labor market demand, they do not provide an exact measure of job openings for a few reasons: not all job openings are posted online, certain industries tend to post jobs online most often, and some jobs are posted online continuously as a means of collecting resumes without the intention of an immediate hire. Other factors, such as changes in the price for advertising jobs on job board sites, can also affect the number of help wanted ads.

Even though the HWOL data series does not perfectly measure all job openings, it still provides a way to measure trends in labor demand, employment, and occupational mix and growth.

Top 20 Most-Advertised Occupations

The job category with the most new online help wanted ads in May 2022 was heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, with 2,011 total new ads – more than double the number of new ads than the previous year. Registered nurses came in second with 1,840 new ads. All other managers comes in with 1,513 new ads, rounding out the top three.

Retail salespersons, which has the 11th-most new ads in May 2022 with 1,129, saw the largest numerical decrease in new ads, with 187 fewer new ads in May 2022 than in May 2021. It is worth noting, however, first-line supervisors of retail sales workers – a similar occupation – saw an increase of 609 new ads.

It is important to keep in mind that not all occupations are represented online equally. Some jobs, like computer occupations, tend to be posted more frequently on online job boards, while other jobs, like construction or agriculture, are less likely to be posted online.

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