US Online Job Market declines 0.2% in August 2012

Labor demand dipped slightly in August as employers posted 0.2% fewer job opportunities compared to July. Now heading into the fall hiring season labor demand may increase again depending on how confident employers are about their economic future. We do not expect a boost in the coming months since significant uncertainties (presidential election, “fiscal cliff”, Europe’s debt struggles) influence the national economic mood.


Consumer confidence, “the degree of optimism that consumers feel about the overall state of the economy and their personal financial situation” dropped to 60.6 in August from 65.4 in July. This was reported by the Conference Board. Low consumer confidence indicates less willingness to go out and shop beyond necessities which can negatively impact production and the need for labor.

United States Job Openings (Online Postings) and Unemployment Rate
January 2007 – August 2012

Labor demand turned a corner in August (see Weekly chart below). After dipping during the first two weeks employers consistently posted more openings during the following three. This indicates some increased optimism among employers. Whether this translates into more hiring remains to be seen.


United States Job Openings (Online Postings)
Weekly, 2011-2012


Note: A weekly update on the United States Job Openings (Online Postings) is available every Tuesday.

Legend for week-over-week change of labor demand:

flat 0%
slow 0.1% – 0.5%
moderate 0.6% – 1.5%
fast > 1.5%

Methodology: SkillPROOF surveys the inventories of job openings at direct employers. Job openings are counted and verified every 24 hours. All data sources have been verified for timely removal of filled or closed positions. No data from job boards or search firms is included.

For this report SkillPROOF estimates the counts of job openings. Estimates are calculated directly from SkillPROOF’s actual daily counts of job openings. As part of its calculations, SkillPROOF uses data and findings from reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (


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Comment by Henning Seip on September 7, 2012 at 8:36am

BLS: Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, professional and technical services, and health care.

Comment by Henning Seip on September 11, 2012 at 11:22am

Update: US Online Job Market, September 2012, Week 1: Labor Demand drops 2.1%

The first week in of September proved to be disappointing for job seekers. Employers posted 2.1% fewer job openings than the week before. While the last three weeks in August pointed to more optimism among employers our most recent survey of job postings shows the continuation of a longer downward trend which began in May this year.

Comment by Henning Seip on September 18, 2012 at 8:47am

Update: US Online Job Market, September 2012, Week 1: Labor Demand grows 0.5%.

Online labor demand increased 0.5% last week compared to the first week in September. Nevertheless, this does not break the downward trend which began in May. Employer confidence continues to decline. The persistence of this trend makes it less likely that employers will increase their job opportunities in the fall.

Comment by Henning Seip on September 26, 2012 at 8:39am

Update: US Online Job Market, September 2012, Week 3: Labor Demand declines 0.3%

Online labor demand keeps sliding in September. Even though two weeks ago employers posted a few more openings, last week they took most of it back. Overall this month is shaping up as a weaker month than August. Nevertheless, job postings only indicate business confidence and are not a direct measure of hiring activity. As such payroll can increase while the number of job postings decline.


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