When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest unemployment and Job Openings and Labor Turnovers (JOLTS) report last June, a particular statistic highlighted the current state of the American workforce: there are more job vacancies than unemployed workers.
Per The Associated Press:
According the the Labor Department, the number of available jobs rose by 1 percent from 6.6 million in March to 6.7 million in April. That’s the most since records began in December 2000.
The figures underscore the consistent strength of the nation’s job market. The unemployment rate has reached an 18-year low of 3.8 percent. Employers have added jobs for a record 92 straight months. And the abundance of openings suggests that hiring will continue and that the unemployment rate will fall even further. Not since December 1969, when the rate was 3.5 percent, has unemployment been lower than it is now.
Per The Los Angeles Times:
The Midwest had the highest rate of job openings at 4.8% of total employment and available jobs. The West, which includes California and 12 other states, was next at 4.4%.
Early in the recovery from the Great Recession in 2009, there were more than six unemployed workers for every job opening. That ratio has been narrowing ever since. In April, there was fewer than one unemployed worker for every opening.
The biggest increases in job openings in April were in manufacturing of long-lasting durable goods, such as airplanes and machinery, as well as in the information sector. The business-services industry had the most openings in April, with 1.3 million, followed by healthcare and social services, which had 1.2 million openings combined.
Per The Washington Post:
The United States has gained 95,000 manufacturing jobs and 110,000 construction jobs from the start of the year through May. Hiring in manufacturing is off to the best start this year since 2011.
To get a localized idea of the current labor market, we have compiled the following employment statistics from BLS.gov:
|San Jose, Sunnyvale
|Los Angeles, Long
SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Economists say that though jobs are outnumbering unemployed workers, employers are not scrambling to hire based on the fact that workers’ salary are rising at a slow rate.
Pay increases for job-switchers are relatively low. In April, wages for job-switchers rose 4 percent, on average. But in December 2000, near the peak of the late 1990s boom, they were receiving raises of 6.5 percent.
Martha Gimbel, director of economic research at job listing site Indeed, points out that pay increases for Americans who remain in their jobs are actually falling. Wages for job-stayers were up just 2.9 percent in April, compared with 3.7 percent six months earlier.
“That is really astonishing to me at this point in the recovery,” Gimbel said. “That just signals that employers are not worried about their employees being poached.”
With the unemployment rate continuing to decline, employers should utilize outside recruitment resources to find bigger pools of candidates. According Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, “In this labor market… no company can hire the skilled or unskilled workers they need without an employment agency working for them 24/7 scouring the country for anyone they can find.”
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