Record-High Job Openings Have Persisted Since June

New York, NY, November 12, 2021-The U.S. economy has had more than 10 million open jobs since June, an extraordinary stretch of imbalance in the labor market that also includes record numbers of workers quitting their jobs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“As of Nov. 5, there were a projected 11.2 million U.S. job openings, according to estimates from the jobs site Indeed, exceeding 7.4 million unemployed workers in the U.S. labor force last month.

“Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate a different measure of job openings-a September report by the Labor Department-to show a slight dip in openings but a total still above 10 million. The department will release its report on Friday.

“Total job openings have been well above their pre-pandemic peak-about 7.5 million in November 2018-since February, when Covid-19 vaccinations initially ramped up and the U.S. economy started to more broadly reopen. Many of the open jobs are in warehousing, shipping and consumer-facing retail, a trend that is likely to be supercharged by the holiday shopping season and strong consumer demand.

“‘Even accounting for seasonality, we could see stronger demand for retail and logistics positions,’ said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed. ‘There’s been strong demand for goods for quite some time.’

“The glut of open positions isn’t expected to abate in the near term, as businesses compete for workers for the holiday season. Employers are raising wages and offering benefits such as training and signing bonuses to attract workers. Workers, meanwhile, have demonstrated heightened bargaining power by quitting jobs at historic rates, either to take better jobs elsewhere or to assess their options in an economy emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“‘It’s a challenging time for recruitment, particularly for those with sophisticated technical skill sets,’ said Andrew Corbett, who runs the innovation and delivery center for NTT DATA Services, a global information technology consulting firm, in Nashville, Tenn.”