Job vacancies roughly flat in February-- leading indicator provides good news, bad news

Well, maybe some good news. The Conference Board reports that online advertised job vacancies were basically flat in February, rather than dipping lower.

Online advertised job vacancies dipped 6,600 to 3,348,000 in February according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series (HWOL)™ released today.

February’s roughly flat numbers, following sharp drops of 507,000 in December and 506,000 in January, result in a decline of nearly 1,020,000 advertised vacancies, or 23 percent, in the last three months. In February, there were slightly over 2 advertised vacancies for every 100 people in the labor force, compared to over 3 vacancies per 100 in February 2008.

“The good news is that labor demand was basically flat in February; the bad news is that we are still at the lowest level since this data series on online labor demand began in 2005,” said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “Advertised vacancies are a leading indicator of movements in employment several months from now. It’s nice to see the labor demand hold steady for even one month, but the economy is still hurting from the weakened consumer demand (The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index is at an all-time low) and continued crisis in the financial markets.”

Read the Conference Board report for yourself here.