Available jobs outnumber unemployed Americans by five million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This scenario is unfolding even as the number of workers who quit their jobs increased in February.
Experts remain at a loss. Do employees who left their previous work seem in no hurry to get back to the labor market? Or, are jobs sprouting at the rate too fast for the labor market to fill?
4.35 Million Americans Quit Their Jobs In February
According to the BLS’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), 4.35 million workers left in February. This is an increase of 94,000 quitters from the previous month.
The number of workers who left their jobs was also higher as a percentage of the workforce. From 2.8% in January, it’s now 2.9%.
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At the same time, there are around 11.27 million job openings for the same month. This number is down slightly compared to the previous month.
However, with only 6.27 million unemployed Americans out there, this left a record 5 million more jobs than workers. In short, there are 1.8 jobs available for every unemployed American out there.
Education and Health Services Recorded Highest Job Openings
Education and health services recorded the highest number of job openings for February. They have 2.23 million positions available.
Professional and business services follow with 2.1 jobs available. Trade, transportation, and utilities come in third with 1.86 available positions.
Meanwhile, the highest month for resignations came in November 2021 at 4.51 million. This is 3% of the total workforce at the time.
Trade, transportation, and utilities comprised nearly a quarter of the resignations at 1.06 million. In addition, leisure and hospitality saw its quits rate unchanged at 5.6%. The heightened level of Americans quitting their jobs eventually became “The Great Resignation.”
Hiring Numbers Increased In February
The increased hiring rate of 263,000 last February lowered the number of unemployed Americans. This increased the rate to 4.4%.
In addition, there were lower numbers of layoffs and discharges at 1.39 million. However, separations elevated slightly to a shade under 6.1 million.
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In addition to the JOLTS report, the Fed is also awaiting the March nonfarm payrolls report this Friday.
Economists are forecasting that an additional 490,000 workers started nonfarm work for the month. They also expect an increase in average hourly earnings of 0.4% for the month and 5.5% on a 12-month basis.
Labor Market Remains Tight
The apparently tight job market is a cause for concern for the Federal Reserve. The US central bank is closely monitoring the JOLTS report for signs of labor market upheavals.
When jobs don’t get filled and unemployment lessens, employers normally offer higher wages to attract new workers. This helps drive inflation higher. In turn, higher inflation is what’s pushing the Fed to start raising interest rates.
Stephen Stanley, the chief economist at Amherst Pierpont, said that data “shows that the labor market remains torrid”. While February added 678,000 jobs, the number of job openings only decreased by 17,000.
“That speaks to the depth of the bid that employers have for labor,” Stanley added. The excessive number of jobs and resignations are igniting inflation. Before the pandemic, unemployed Americans usually outnumber job openings.
Watch the Inside News video reporting that there are now a record 5 million more job openings than unemployed people:
What do you think of the growing disparity between available jobs and unemployed Americans? Given the record number of available jobs, are unemployed Americans still looking for higher wages? If not, what is it that they want?
Tell us what you think. Share your comments below.