The Working Population is Unable to fill the Open Job Slots
A record-high six million jobs were open to workers in the United States in April, but the 6.8 million unemployed were unable to fill those positions, leading to growing fears concerning the overall health of the American workforce.
The number come from the Labor Department and paint both an optimistic and grim portrait of the American economy.
The optimistic vision focuses on the growing strength of the employment sector, with the record high jobs numbers demonstrating an encouraging recovery since the Great Recession.
In 2009, job openings were as low as 2.2 million.
The problem is that the unemployed workers either aren’t qualified or don’t want to fill these open positions.
The main issues stem around unrealistic employer demands, a skill disparity between workers and the jobs open and that workers are at times unwilling to relocate to take a position.
The situation may be holdover from when jobs were scarce and unemployment high, when employers were able to choose among the best candidates during the economic downturn. As the recovery has created more new jobs and decreased unemployment, the ultimate result is a job market that can’t seem to satisfy both job-seekers and employers.
This also represents a changing of expectations on behalf of employers. Among working executive secretaries, for instance, about 19% have a college degree. But in today’s job market, 65% of secretary job openings have a college degree listed among job requirements.
Automation, the aging workforce and a lack of skills has only served to widen the gap between the unemployed and the unfilled positions.
While many jobs are opening in certain regions of the country, other areas are slower to grow or at times are even losing jobs. This growing gulf in regional growth has also affected the unemployment rate, as the more densely populated Northeast has the fewest number of job openings at 1.2 million.
The news was not all good on the jobs front, either. Manufacturing and mining jobs, two areas said to be a focus of President Donald Trump’s administration, declined in April. These two areas have long born the brunt of damage caused by outsourcing and automation, two tides that Trump has promised to turn despite showing limited concrete plans.
“U.S. has record 6 million job openings, even as 6.8 million Americans are looking for jobs,” CNN Money, June 6, 2017.