August 2009: Slowly But Surely, Managerial Hiring Continues to Improve

August 2009: Slowly But Surely, Managerial Hiring Continues to Improve

Author Employment Index

After a dramatic increase in July, online job postings slowed in August but continued to maintain a four-month positive trend. Washington, D.C., was again the best city in which to find a new job, while Riverside, Calif., had the fewest job openings online per capita of any surveyed metro area.

For job seekers anxiously watching for an improvement in the national employment scene, the good news continues to come in fits and starts. After jumping a full 17.8 points last month, the volume of online job openings grew just 1.6 points in August. Despite this slowdown, August still marked the fourth straight month of positive activity since the job market hit bottom in April 2009, indicating that while slow, the current recovery is more than a temporary anomaly.

According to the Employment Index, which measures the volume of managerial jobs available online across the U.S., activity once again slowed after a strong month, repeating a trend established between April and June. At an overall Index Score of 79.8, however, online job postings have now fully recovered from the free fall that began in November, when the Index dropped 35.7 points in six months. That said, this current level is still a full 25 points below levels seen during the summer of 2008.

The Index for each month is measured against a base score of 100, which represents the level of hiring activity during the same month in 2007. A score higher than 100 indicates that the number of available jobs is greater than it was during the same month in 2007, while a score below 100 means that job-posting activity is lower than in 2007.

While the national Index Score increased only slightly, job seekers in some parts of the country are seeing considerably more improvement. Breaking down activity by job level, region and city, according to the Employment Index, Washington, D.C., once again leads all other major metro areas by a considerable margin.

As a whole, the Northeast boasted considerably more job openings per capita than the rest of the U.S., leading the next-best region, the Southwest, by a full 5.7 points. Which metro area offered job seekers the fewest opportunities per capita in August? For the second month in a row, Riverside, Calif., had the lowest volume of job listings available online, trailing even perennially struggling Detroit in the rankings.

Performance also differed considerably across job levels. Focusing on white-collar positions, the Index separates jobs into Manager, Director, VP and C-Level categories. For the first time since job-posting activity began to rebound in May, only three categories saw continued improvement, while the availability of Managerial positions actually decreased nationally. After slowing in July, C-Suite jobs once again led all other levels in volume, followed closely by Director. The availability of VP positions trailed all other levels by a considerable margin last month, but increased nine points to an Index Score of 75 in August, pulling the category into a tie with Manager.

With the national economy still on a shaky footing, many job seekers are eager to see signs that finding a new job will become easier in the coming months. And thanks to four straight months of increased job-posting activity online, the steep losses endured last fall and winter have finally been erased. That said, at 79.8, the current Index Score is still well below its most-recent peak in March, 2008 (Index Score: 109.3). Returning to those levels, however, will take a sustained, long-term recovery – especially when it only comes 1.6 points at a time.

For complete information on employment by region, job level and the top 8 best and worst cities to find a job, the Employment Index's findings can be found in our detailed scoring pages:


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