Online Help Wanted Ads Declined over the Past Year

by Anna Johnson

October 1, 2019

Help wanted job ads fell by 11.7 percent in Oregon between August 2018 and August 2019, according to The Help Wanted OnLine data series (HWOL). Nationally, online job ads decreased by 4.0 percent from August 2018 to August 2019.

Oregon’s job ad decline in August 2019 coincides with a low unemployment rate and modest job gains during the year. The unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in August 2019 and has been at very low levels for the past 34 months. The number of unemployed people was 85,000 in August 2019, which is down slightly from 85,300 in August 2018. In addition, since August 2018 Oregon’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 29,300 jobs.

Across the state, all of Oregon’s local workforce areas saw a decrease in online help wanted ads from August 2018 to August 2019. The Mid-Valley, Clackamas County, and Northwest Oregon each had 15 percent fewer ads in August 2019 than in August 2018, tying for the fastest over-the-year decline out of all the regions.
Help wanted ads, tracked by Wanted Analytics, 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. First, not all openings are posted online, and certain industries tend to post jobs online more often. In addition, some jobs are posted online continuously as a means of collecting resumes without the intention of an immediate hire. Price changes for advertising job ads on job boards also affect the number of help wanted ads that are captured.

Despite not measuring all job openings, the HWOL data series provides a way to measure trends in hiring, real-time changes in labor demand, and occupational mix and growth.

Top 20 Most-Advertised Occupations

Employers placed more ads for registered nurses than for any other occupation in August 2019. About 2,100 online job ads went out for registered nurses across the state. The most advertised occupations were found in metro and non-metro areas across the state. Retail salespersons, truck drivers, managers of retail sales workers, stock clerks and order filers, and software developers topped the list of most advertised occupations in Oregon.

Keep in mind that all occupations are not always represented equally online. Some job openings, like those for construction or agricultural workers, are not as likely to be posted online. Others, like computer occupations, show up more frequently on job boards.

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