Big Increase in Job-Seeking Surfers

With U.S. unemployment rates in the highest range since 1994, 4 million Americans per day are turning to the Internet for job information. Results from a Pew Internet Project survey of 2,259 Internet users from March 1 through May 19, 2002 revealed a 33 percent increase in the daily number of online job hunters from the previous year.

Overall, 52 million Americans have sought out online job information, up from 32 million last year, with almost half (47 percent) of all the adult Internet users in the United States going online specifically looking for job information.

The largest group of job seekers is in the 18 to 29 year old range at 61 percent, compared to 42 percent of those ages 30 to 49, and 27 percent of those ages 50 to 64. Additionally, 50 percent of the online job hunting is attributed to men, compared to 44 percent of female Internet users. Pew found that on a typical day, twice as many online men are job-hunting as women.

More than half (51 percent) of those who do not currently have jobs have Internet access. On an average day, a tenth of the unemployed with Internet access are online scouring job sites, compared to 4 percent of the wired Americans who have fulltime jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average American changes jobs 10 times and switches careers three times over the course of a lifetime – indicating that many employed Internet users are job seeking too.

While 44 percent of white Americans have done online job seeking, close to 60 percent of African-Americans with Internet access and online Hispanics have sought job information on the Internet.

More than half (55 percent) of those with Internet access who currently hold media sales jobs have looked for new job information online, compared to 44 percent of the online executives and professionals, and almost half (49 percent) of the wired clerical and office workers. Typically, office workers are the most active job searchers, and skilled laborers and service workers are the least likely to have searched for jobs online.

Those who live in households with incomes over $75,000 are more likely than others with lesser incomes to have done job searches online and those with college or graduate degrees are more likely than those with high school diplomas to have explored the job classifieds online.

Another Pew survey, conducted in January 2002, found that 8 million Americans who changed jobs in the past two years found the Internet a vital resource in helping them through that transition. One quarter of Internet users who changed jobs in the previous two years said that the Internet played a crucial role in their job search.

With all the online job-hunting, it’s not surprising that traffic figures for Monster.com are so high. According to I/PRO, the career site achieved an all-time high traffic record of 43 million unique visits (representing an average of 1,387,794 visits per day) during the month of March, when Pew began conducting interviews with online job seekers.

Traffic has dipped since March’s record-breaking figures but Monster still led the career category for June, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, and is the 16th most visited site overall on the Web, comScore Media Metrix reports. Jeff Taylor, founder and chairman of Monster, says that the job site maintains a database of more than 17.5 million resumes and 25 million job seeker members.

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