Recent job vacancy data for the month of December pegs computer and math openings up 23,000 from November for a total of 467,000 nationally, according to a report from The Conference Board-a nonprofit business organization.
Overall, the annual average for job openings in 2009 is down compared with the previous two years with 3,357,000, which is 1.1 million below 4,481,000 for 2008 and 1.3 million below the 2007 average.
For all occupations, job vacancies were up 255,000 in December. The good news is the averages of job openings in the second half of 2009 were positive. Job demand was up on average by 58,000, compared with negative 91,000 in the first half of the year.
"Employers' modest increase in demand for labor in the second half of 2009 is a nice way to end what has been a very challenging year," said Gad Levanon, senior economist at The Conference Board, in the Jan. 6 report. "The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is still very high, but the recent six months indicate that things are slowly moving in the right direction. The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is about 12 million, with 4.5 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy."
Technology and math jobs saw a good ratio of openings to unemployed individuals seeking work, as did work in health care. The report compares and contrasts several industries to highlight job opportunities:
Regionally speaking, the South saw the highest demand of job openings, increasing by 120,400 for December. From the report (PDF):