Help not wanted: U.S. online job ads see biggest two-month decline since recession

September 5, 2012

U.S.job seekers saw online job ads dwindle this summer, according to a survey from The Conference Board. Advertised vacancies fell 108,700 in August to 4,684,800, the industry group said.

Jonathan Basile at Credit Suisse noted that the combined drop of 262,000 jobs for July and August was the biggest two-month decline since the last recession.

This measure of labor demand suggests businesses have become a lot less willing to hire in the last two months. Jobless claims in recent months are not showing a deteriorating picture for the layoff side of payrolls, but help wanted online ads are showing weakness on the hiring side.

Help wanted online ads posted a second straight triple-digit decline in Aug after Jul’s big drop. Importantly, new ads accounted for the bulk of the weakness.

The two-month drop for headline help wanted online ads was -262.3K, while the two-month drop for new ads was -325.7K.  Both were the worst two-month stretches since February 2009.

The Labor Department will release its August employment survey on Friday. Economists in a Reuters poll are forecasting the economy added 125,000 jobs last month, down from July’s net increase of 163,000 new positions.

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