As unemployment rates continue to rise, online job postings in March 2009 fell by 100,000, according to the Conference Board, demonstrating that the gap between the supply of labor and the demand for it continues to widen. Although far worse than February's 6,600 decline, the March numbers were better than those reported by the Conference Board in January 2009 and December 2008, both of which experienced online job posting reductions of a staggering 500,000. Since December, total online jobs have risen by 25 percent.
"What we've seen in the last two months is that we're still down but not as bad as previously," said June Shelp, a media representative for Conference Board. "Next month is probably a very crucial month to look and see for these seasonal increases."
While unemployment is a nationwide problem, some industries are suffering more than others are. Management, administrative, and office position listings were both down more than 30 percent and job postings for computer and mathematical jobs declined by just under 30 percent. Business/finance and architecture/engineering jobs were two other categories that suffered the most.
Even though only a third of states saw this backsliding in job advertising, no state had more online listed job openings than unemployed citizens, demonstrating that unemployment rates have not yet hit bottom. But Conference Board is hopeful that hiring in spring, a time when businesses boost their workforce, will lift some of the strain. California, Texas, and New York were hit the hardest, losing 19,800, 16,500, and 14,600 in online advertisements, respectively. The South and Midwest faired far better than its coastal neighbors, seeing a total of only 22,000 loss in job ads, while the northeast and the west both saw more than 39,000 in losses. Florida, Michigan, and Minnesota were all fortunate enough to actually see an increase in online job ads.
"The number of negatives is beginning to decelerate," said Shelp. "What we're looking at is that there were these two huge drops [in December and January], February is flat, and March was a little less. If we don't see huge decreases than the negatives are getting a little less. While most places were still down there were many areas were seeing some positive signs. "
Shelp suggests that Americans stay tuned for April and May, the big hiring months that usually see a huge increase by the hundreds of thousands in online advertising. This year, however, the Conference Board foresees a mellowing decline -- which, perhaps, is as much as an economic win as Americans can ask for.
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