Friday, June 12, 2015

A Disturbing Trend: Increasing Numbers of Job Openings Go Unfilled

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics generates a report called the "Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey" (JOLTS).  Unlike the monthly employment report which looks at job creation and the unemployment rate, JOLTS addresses numbers from the employer's perspective.  In it, we see how many job openings go unfilled each month, as well as how many workers lose their jobs and how many are hired.

This month, the number of job openings hit a record 5.4 million by the end of April.  This is the highest number since this report was initiated in December of 2000, and it follows a rather disturbing trend of a growing number of unfilled jobs since the beginning of 2014.
This is despite the fact that we have 17 million workers who are either unemployed; working part time in lieu of getting a full time job; underemployed based on experience or education; or, simply frustrated with the job market and have given up looking for work (data derived from Table A-15, U-6 of last month's employment report).

As such, why aren't the jobs being filled?

The simple fact is that we have too many people out of the 17 million, that are unqualified to take those 5.4 million jobs.  According to the report, 1/5 of those openings are for Business and Professional Services.  Another fifth is in Education and Health Services.  All of these are higher paying jobs that require specialized experience and/or education. In addition,the balance in manufacturing, transport, leisure services, etc. with limited experience and education needed, are also going unfilled.

With a 3-to-1 ratio of unemployed/underemployed/discouraged workers for every job opening, we have a serious problem; leaving many employers to look overseas to fill those positions through work visa applications or, simply moving those jobs overseas.  Either way, this is bad news for the American worker.


April JOLTS Report:

May Employment Report:


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