Morning Must Reads: Job Openings

Tuesday morning the U.S. Department of Labor released new data on job openings in September. 

Job openings have rebounded from a decade low of 2.1 million in July 2009. But they are well below the 4.4 million advertised in December 2007, when the recession began.

Almost four years later, roughly 14 million people are unemployed. An average 4.2 unemployed workers were competing for each opening in September. That's slightly better than August, but it is still more than twice the 2 to 1 ratio that economists say is healthy.

More openings do not necessarily mean more jobs. Even though job openings rose 22 percent in the past year, hiring has increased only 10 percent, the Labor Department's report shows...

Some employers are likely pickier about who they hire than they have been in the past, economists say. They have more choices with unemployment near 9 percent for the past two years...

In some high-skill industries, such as engineering or information technology, companies could be having trouble finding workers with the right skills.

Some economists say companies aren't offering high enough pay to attract workers they need or are unwilling to train applicants who aren't a precise fit.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey (JOLTS) provides no state specific data. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry publishes data (pdf) on online job ads. Using this data, the ratio of unemployed workers to online job ads in the U.S. in September was 3.5 to 1. The Pennsylvania ratio was 3.3 to 1. Adjusting the JOLTS data accordingly, there are 3.9 unemployed workers for every job opening in Pennsylvania.

 

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