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Ohio online job ads rose 16k last month.

The number of online help-wanted ads in Ohio rose by 16,000 last month to about 199,000 — the fourth-largest statewide gain in the nation and an indication of renewed labor demand after an unusually harsh winter held back hiring in the previous two months, according to a report released Wednesday by The Conference Board.

“After a very lackluster 2013, the large February increase is the first signal in many months of possible renewed strength in demand for labor,” said June Shelp, vice president of The Conference Board, a nonprofit business research group. “The large increase may partially be a result of pent-up demand following the bad winter weather across the U.S.”

Nationwide, online advertised vacancies were up 268,100 to about 5.2 million in February as labor demand rose in 46 states with California, Texas, Washington and Illinois rounding out the top five states for new job ads. Alaska, Alabama, Maine, and Colorado showed slight declines in labor demand, The Conference Board reported.

Compared to a year ago, the number of online advertised vacancies were up in 33 states, down in 14 and unchanged in three with 70 percent of the total increase in online job listings coming from the Midwest, The Conference Board found.

Transportation and material moving showed the biggest jump in advertised vacancies last month, up 92,700, reflecting increased demand for truck drivers, supervisors as well as stock handlers. Meanwhile, the demand for office support staff grew by 35,500 online job listings, while demand for computer and math jobs increased by 23,000.

Still, the number of job postings doesn’t tell the whole story. Just as important are the number of unemployed people seeking jobs and how much competition there is for the jobs that are available, or the supply-demand rate.

Nationwide, the supply-demand rate was 2.08, according to The Conference Board, meaning there were just over two unemployed workers for every online advertised job vacancy. In Ohio, the rate was slightly higher at 2.31.

But both the national and Ohio supply-demand rates were down from just over 3.0 a year ago.

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