Online Job Ads Declined in Fall 2023, but Remain Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Levels

by Luke Coury

April 8, 2024

The number of new online help wanted job ads decreased 15% in Oregon between the fourth quarter of 2022 and the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) data series. For comparison, new ads in the U.S. decreased by 17% in the same period.

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. 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. Despite these factors, it still provides a way to measure trends in labor demand, employment, and occupational mix and growth.

There were 61,882 new online job ads in Oregon in the fourth quarter of 2023. While the number of ads was smaller than the year before, it remained elevated relative to pre-pandemic levels, even as Oregon’s nonfarm employment increased by 0.7% over the year ending in December 2023. This large volume of new ads, along with historically low unemployment rates in 2023, indicate that the hiring market remains competitive. There were only an estimated 2.4 unemployed workers for each new online job ad posted in fourth quarter 2023, remaining below pre-pandemic levels.

Table showing Oregon's Tight Labor Market: Few Unemployed Workers Available For Each New Online Job Ad in Fourth Quarter 2023

Five of Oregon’s nine workforce board regions saw decreases in new ads in fourth quarter 2023 compared with a year earlier. Eastern Oregon saw the largest percentage decrease, falling 34% from a year earlier. Eastern Oregon also saw the smallest number of new ads during this period.

The Portland-Metro workforce area saw the largest number of new online job ads with 28,313, accounting for nearly half of all new online job ads in Oregon. The number of new ads in the Portland-Metro area decreased by 20%. The East Cascades area saw the largest percentage increase in new ads over-the-year with growth of 25%.
Table showing New Help Wanted Ads in Fourth Quarter 2023

Top 20 Most-Advertised Occupations

Total new ads decreased over the year in the majority of occupations. Registered nurses saw the most new online help wanted ads in the fourth quarter of 2023 with 2,643 total new ads. This represented a decrease of 310 ads from the year before. New ads for retail salesperson, the second largest occupation, decreased by 256 to 1,819. The wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives occupations had 1,390 new ads, decreasing 382 from the previous year, rounding out the top three.

The restaurant cooks occupation, which had the 18th-most new ads in fourth quarter 2023 with 585, saw the largest numerical increase in new ads. There were 220 more new ads for personal care aids in fourth quarter quarter 2023 than a year prior, at 38% increase.

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.

Table showing Top 20 Occupations with the Most New Help Wanted OnLine Ads, Oregon, Fourth Quarter 2023

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