Economic Milestone: There Is a Job for Everyone Who Wants One

Marcus Newton
May 9, 2018

The construction industry had 68,000 more job openings and companies in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector had 37,000 unfilled positions.

The ratio peaked at 6.6 unemployed people per job opening in July 2009 and has been falling steadily ever since. The job opening rate, or the number of open jobs as a share of employment, rose to 4.2% from 3.9% a month earlier-also a record.

Nick Bunker, an analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, says he thinks the record-high number of job openings in part stems from weak wage gains. There was 1.0 unemployed worker per job opening in March. Employers are struggling to fill jobs from a dwindling supply of unemployed. As a result, the quits rate, which policymakers and economists view as a measure of job market confidence, rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.3 percent.

That's not the same as saying, of course, that every unemployed worker out there will qualify for one of these vacancies. The number of people quitting their jobs has increased 6.4 percent in the past year. That should be pushing up wages, yet paychecks are growing at only a modest pace.

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Layoffs fell 56,000 to 1.56 million in March. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 472,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.6 million. More Americans are staying in their jobs rather than switching to new ones for higher pay. The kinds of jobs available may not match the distribution of workers' skills, locations or preferences for the kind of work they want to do.

The number of people quitting their jobs has increased 6.4 percent in the past year, the JOLTS report shows.

That is a sign that job-switching might be recovering. Over time, it could push up wages.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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