Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Overview
Updated over a week ago


The Conference Board-Lightcast® Help Wanted OnLine program (HWOL) is a collaboration between The Conference Board and Lightcast developed to reflect trends in employment opportunities across the United States. It serves as a leading indicator of the labor market and overall economic activity. It is a proprietary data set available by geography, occupation, industry, and skills and publishes monthly press releases on changes in online job ads.

On the Analyst platform, HWOL will:

  1. Measure changes over time on the volume of clean, deduplicated advertised online job vacancies.

  2. Provide coverage of online job ads across all available occupations and counties.

  3. Provide access to data for you to independently tabulate down to granular levels.

Economists of The Conference Board and Lightcast have created two products that fulfill your needs: the HWOL Index and HWOL Publication Series.

HWOL Index

The HWOL Index serves as an indicator for understanding economic movements in the labor market by measuring changes over time in advertised online job vacancies, reflecting monthly trends in hiring across the US. Since job advertising is usually one of the first stages in the hiring process, it represents a key barometer of employers’ intentions to increase or decrease employment and the volume of goods produced or services provided. For this reason, the HWOL Index is a leading indicator of the labor market and overall economic activity.

The HWOL Index improved upon the prior HWOL Data Series’ ability to assess local labor markets trends by reducing volatility and non-economic noise and improving correlations with local labor market conditions. HWOL Indices are available for the Nation, National 2-digit SOC Occupation, National 2-Digit Industry, all states, and all MSAs with data beginning in December 2005.

HWOL Publication Series

The HWOL Publication Series complements the HWOL Index and measures the number of total and new online job advertisements in the US using HWOL Data Series. Ads are collected in real-time (by Lightcast) from different online job boards and are deduplicated across all in-scope job boards to create the HWOL universe of online job ads. The HWOL universe is subject to an annual revision where new sources may be added, and others removed if deemed unreliable. The number of unique job ads from the HWOL universe is aggregated every month to create the HWOL Data Series of total and new ads.

New and available Seasonally adjusted data are available for the following criteria:

  • National

  • National 2-digit Occupation

  • State

  • MSA

Additional breakouts are made available on the Developer platform. The total and new ads series is available by all geographic areas down to the city level, 8-digit O*NET occupations, 5-digit NAICS industries, and other detailed granular breakouts including employer, skills, and job type. However, the granular series are not available seasonally adjusted.

To read more on HWOL methodologies, refer to the attached pdf titled "HWOL Technical Note April 2023.pdf".


Need to Cite the Data? Use this:

Source: The Conference Board-Lightcast Help Wanted OnLine® 2024

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