Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Job Openings?

"Since the economy bottomed out in mid-2009, the number of job openings has risen more than twice as fast as actual hires, a gap that didn't appear until much later in the last recovery....If the job market were working normally — that is, if openings were getting filled as they usually do — the U.S. should have about five million more gainfully employed people than it does..."

Kevin Drum, "Plenty of Jobs, Not Enough Workers," Mother Jones, 8, 8, 2010

Drum offers two partial explanations -- more high skill workers retiring than replacements and the effects of unemployment insurance. The latter may account for a percentage or two -- the former is a huge factor that's going to happen -- but now. Many workers have put off retirement although increasing some with signs of recovery.

A third explanation is the firms may have openings but are just not hiring -- because they can afford to be choosy, some risk adversity, or because they are making money with fewer workers. And as Drum argues some of these openings have unusual requirements -- relocation, minimum wage, or no on-the-job training.

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