Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
Topic: Job openings
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October 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Economists pay close attention to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The so-called JOLTS report gives the clearest indication of how many job-seekers are chasing the available positions. The August report came out this morning, and shows that for the first time in five years the ratio is below 3 to 1. It’s not much of an improvement, but 2.9 people are seeking every available job.
According to labor economist Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute, the August numbers overstate the improvement because at least 5 million have dropped out of the workforce because of the weak economy. “These “missing workers” are thus not counted as unemployed, but many will become job seekers when a robust jobs recovery finally begins, so job openings will be needed for them, too.”
Not only that, but the ratio is nearly as high as the worst month of the 2001 recession. And no sector has as many or more openings as unemployed workers. “There are between 1.3 and 9.8 times as many unemployed workers as job openings in every industry.”