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The US Online Job Market Improved Slightly in July

Measured in terms of online job postings, the U.S. job market improved slightly in July. Here are two views of the number of job postings per day: note the slight uptick in July 2009 in both graphs.

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The worst year-over-year decline occurred in April, the online job market subsequently shed less postings in May and June. Given that July was an improvement over May/June, one would hope that the stage is set for a sustained upward trend. But with 45% fewer job postings in Jul-09 compared to Jul-08, the U.S. online job market remains far from the levels seen in previous years.

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Alternatively, it may take a long period before job postings return to 2008 levels. Instead of looking for green shoots, we may have to brace ourselves and adjust to the New Normal: a stretch of time when job postings remain significantly less than the 2006-2008 period.

There were fewer online job postings in every state, with losses ranging from 36-37% in VA, MD, OK, AK, to 55-58% in DE, WY, MN, WI. The two largest states (CA, TX) had 50% and 43% fewer job postings in 2009 compared to the same period in 2008:

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(†) In partnership with SimplyHired and Greenplum, we maintain a data warehouse that contains most U.S. online job postings dating back to mid-2005. Data for this post was through 7/31/2009.

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  • http://www.gaganpreetsingh.com Gagan

    Only certain kinds of jobs get posted online. Moreover they are inclined to white collar and tech jobs.

    Does this analysis give us a hint more towards the health of the High-tech industry.

  • http://beantownweb.blogspot.com/ Gene Babon

    I’m seeing a significant increase in demand for Web technology expertise in the Boston metro area.

    Here is my analysis . . .

    http://beantownweb.blogspot.com/2009/08/boston-market-august-2009.html

    Gene Babon

  • http://www.alexandertolley.com Alex Tolley

    The July uptick was extremely small compared to the deltas in the rest of the data. It is just noise and should not be used as evidence to bolster the headline. That is just wishful thinking, not analysis.

    There also seems to be some evidence of seasonality that needs to be corrected for too.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Alex,
      Actually we have data on job postings not employment. Our monthly time-series isn’t long, but at least for the previous two years (2007/2008) July was lower than June.
      The slight improvement, was in reference to this graph of year-over-year declines. I did qualify that by saying that 2009 levels are still significantly lower than the previous three years, and that we may be mired in a New Normal for the foreseeable future.

      Gene,
      We are conducting detailed analysis of the job postings by metro area and job type. I’ll be posting results here on Radar.

      Thnx for your comments,
      Ben

  • http://www.nevadahenderson.com Henderson Nevada

    So an increase in job posting is an indicator of improvement? That’s a bit if a stretch. And here in Vegas it’s not improving. I just read an article published today in the NY Times that said this:

    “IDC said that money spent on online display advertising in particular dropped 12 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago, while classified ads lost 17 percent, hitting sites like Monster.com particularly hard.”

    So maybe it’s the free listings that are up? Monster is a big player in online job postings.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Henderson Nevada,

      >> So an increase in job posting is an indicator of improvement?

      The blog post refers to the number of online postings, which is what we have data for. Now whether or not the health of the online job market tracks the economy, remains to be seen. What we do know is that the # of posts tracked the collapse of the US economy in late 2009.

      To cut down on noise, we try to filter for duplicate job posts.

      Ben

  • http://www.alexandertolley.com Alex Tolley

    Ben,
    I stand by my earlier comment. In regards to your 3rd chart which you state is the basis for teh headline, one could make a similar “The US Online Job Market [Improved/Deteriorated] Slightly in [Month] and it would have meant nothing other than a description for that month. Each subsequent month’s data would have reversed the finding, providing no trend or predictive information.

    The best chart is chart 2 and I would argue that if it shows anything at all, is that postings are still in a decline trend, which implies the opposite of the headline.

    When displaying chart data it is also essential to display the axes too. There is no indication of the sample size for each data point, thus we cannot know the significance of changes in the data.

    As Wired would say, this is “info porn”.

    You can do better, because I’ve I’ve seen better data in your earlier posts.

    • http://radar.oreilly.com/ben/ Ben Lorica

      Hey Alex,

      As in our other data sets, the values are large and nontrivial (all online job postings in the U.S. for a given month). In particular the percentage moves I highlighted are significant.

      As to the appropriateness of the headline, given that I put the results in context in the body of the post and in a previous comment, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

      Best,
      Ben

  • Rod

    For me, more interesting statistics would be:
    1. for various types of job, how many resumes
    are submitted for a given online job posting.

    2. for various types of job, what percentage
    of online postings actually convert to a real
    person getting that job.

    3. for various types of job, what percentage
    of online job posting are actually filled with
    a person who did not even respond to the posting
    (eg. the CEO cousin got the job).

  • Justin Russ

    Maybe one of you guys would like to attempt to
    get some job interviews. Then you will find out what the true state of the job market is. Get
    your feet wet. My experience is your analysis
    of an improving job market is inflated.

  • http://www.vlitzo.com Moses Newsome

    While there is a slight improvement in the job market we still need to change the way we search for jobs. Many platforms out there really don’t cater to the seeker and what’s most important to them. Sept 30th 2009 http://www.vlitzo.com will be launching a site where people can search jobs post resumes along with video interviews in there profile to set them apart from there competition in addition to this niche the site’s main focus will be professional careers in the tech, healthcare, financial and green job industries

  • David

    Nowadays 40% of the jobs posted in No.1 job site are fake. They just want to show some activity.

  • http://www.jobsworkingonline.com Nevil

    Today’s economy forces you to become on Entrepreneur. For people who have an understanding of how online jobs or working online works, they seem to branch off on their on to start a company/business of their own.

  • http://www.jobvirtue.com Jodi

    A slight improvement is better than no improvement. It sounds like we’re on our way out of the recession, but it may be too soon to tell.