Many Jobs, Few Hires

by Dish Staff

Jobs Market

Ben Casselman analyzes the latest job market numbers:

U.S. employers listed 4.7 million available jobs at the end of June, 700,000 more than a year earlier and the most since 2001, according to new data released Tuesday. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed workers has been falling steadily and is now below 10 million. As a result, the remaining job seekers face their best prospects of the recovery: There are now two unemployed workers for every job opening, down from about seven at the height of the unemployment crisis.

Matt Phillips throws cold water on the news. He proclaims that “American companies want workers—they just aren’t actually hiring them yet”:

 US job openings have been at highs not seen since early 2001. Openings touched 4.67 million in June, up 2.1% from May. So if there are job openings, and business owners intend to hire, surely they’re hiring, right? Well, not so fast. The [Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey] hiring rate is nowhere near as buoyant as the job opening rates.

Jared Bernstein’s take:

Here’s what I think is going on. The job market has in fact been tightening, but in a somewhat unusual way: through diminished layoffs more so than through robust hiring (see figure here and this important related work as well).  The former—fewer layoffs—is keeping the short-term unemployment rate nice and low. The latter—tepid hires—is keeping the long-term jobless rate high. That’s creating the illusion of decreased matching efficiency but it’s really just the result of the persistent slack and the unusually high share of long-term unemployment with which we’ve been stuck for years now.