Fact: 4 job seekers per opening in U.S.
September 12th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Fact: 4 job seekers per opening in U.S.

According to the most recent data from the Labor department, there are 14 million unemployed people and 3.2 million job openings in the U.S.  As Scott Winship at Brookings writes,

“From 1951 through 2007, there were never more than three unemployed workers for each job opening, and it was rare for that figure even to hit two-to-one.  In contrast, there have been more than three jobseekers per opening in every single month since September 2008.  The ratio peaked somewhere between five-to-one and seven-to-one in mid-2009.”

This Sunday at 8pm ET, Fareed Zakaria will explore this issue in a special edition of CNN GPS called "Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to Work."

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Topics: Daily Fact • Economy • Jobs

soundoff (12 Responses)

    14 M? Unbelievable.

    September 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  2. j. von hettlingen

    To create jobs is Obama's vocation, if he aims at a secon term!

    September 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  3. Stonefox

    I know it's been mentioned before, but ask those employers who have the 3.2 million job openings why they aren't being filled and they will tell you it's because they can't find qualified people. With 33% of high school students not graduating, the conclusion is that our workforce isn't trained to fill many of the jobs that are available. This isn't your father's job market anymore. Those jobs are gone. This is the global workplace and we are competing with other countries who's students are much better prepared for the present and the future.

    September 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • Tthumper

      They are being filled, it's just that new ones open up almost as fast (sometimes faster). It is a dynamic system what you see is just a snapshot in time.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  4. Dr. David Gruder

    This stat is why creating new jobs and job re-training are only part of the solution. The rest of the solution is to re-train former employees to become successful entrepreneurs. There are very few real world (in contrast to academic degrees) programs providing solid broad-based entrepreneurial training and support. These programs deserve far more media coverage than they have so far received. The granddaddy of them all is CEO Space International. It's high time that CNN and other media outlets stopped overlooking the vast entrepreneurial re-training component of economic recovery.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  5. OligarchyNot

    I have been looking for a job as a legal assistant for 2 years, and I can tell you from my experience that Stonefox is not exactly correct about employers not finding qualified candidates for those 3.2 million job openings. I'm sure that some employers can't find qualified candidates, but it's just a small percentage of job openings. My personal experience has been that employers are offering ridiculously low wages and in many cases, only part-time employment. For instance, I have expanded my search to include jobs outside the legal field since the legal field is simply not hiring. Administrative assistant jobs are paying around $8-$12 per hour in many cases, and I've seen heavy-duty positions as office manager for $15 per hour(!). I made $30 per hour as a legal secretary at my last job. I can't even consider those jobs without selling my house and reducing my standard of living greatly, and I can't sell my house since it is now worth less than what I have it mortgaged for (I could sell it if I could come up with $30,000+, but if I could do that, I wouldn't have a problem). If law school graduates are not finding jobs, it's not because they're not qualified. Going back to school is not going to help my situation since I'm 56 years old and would be close to retirement age when I graduated.

    There's no reason why employers can't train people for these jobs they're having trouble filling. But, generally, I think Stonefox's argument doesn't hold water and it ignores the fact that there are 14 million people who need a job and there are only 3.2 million jobs to be had. And these figures only include the unemployed who are collecting unemployment compensation - once that ends, those unemployed are no longer counted. I would imagine there are as many as 20-25 million Americans without work. Since we apparently can't count on the business world to care about or try to fix this situation, we have no alternative but to look to our government to create jobs and get our country out of this stagnated recession. This means putting overblown concern about the deficit aside and spending the money necessary to create jobs. It also means that we need to QUIT giving tax breaks to the rich - tax breaks that we are now borrowing money from China in order to pay.

    November 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
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