MRO Magazine

New help wanted index supports optimism for employment growth

Ottawa, ON -- The rising number of new jobs posted online in August 2009 signals that net employment losses ma...

Human Resources

September 28, 2009
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — The rising number of new jobs posted online in August 2009 signals that net employment losses may be tapering off, according to the Conference Board’s new Help Wanted Index, released for the first time on Sept. 16, 2009.


The Help Wanted Index is an indicator of the number of new jobs advertised online. The Conference Board’s analysis shows that the variations in the number of jobs posted online are generally followed by similar variations in employment in the ensuing months, meaning that the index can be used to predict near-term employment trends.



“While the Help Wanted Index does not yet point to a rebound in hiring, it suggests that the number of job losses is bottoming out,” said Pedro Antunes, director, National and Provincial Forecast. “Online job postings rose by 2.6 percentage points in August compared to July. The increased number of postings across the country is another encouraging sign that the worst of the recession is behind us.”


In August, the index rose for the second time in three months to 86.9 (2007=100). The index increased in almost all provinces. Significant gains in online job postings occurred in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.


Although net job losses may be tapering off, the Conference Board’s second new measure of labour market activity shows that the unemployed still outnumber job postings by a substantial margin. The Barometer of Labour Market Tightness is the ratio between the number of measured unemployed for every online job posted. In August 2009, the ratio reached 3.6 unemployed persons per job posted. In comparison, the ratio in October 2008 was less than two unemployed for every job posted online.


Provincial data is available for both the Help Wanted Index and Barometer of Labour Market Tightness. Raw data are collected by Canadian-based Wanted Technologies. The data is available to Conference Board subscribers at and the publication is available at