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Dec 10

Number of job openings surges to 3.4 million

Posted by Stephen Taub in unemployment, jobsjoblessnesscareerscareer/managementBureau of Labor Statistics

Stephen Taub

It's all about jobs.

With the official unemployment rate up to 9.8 percent and the unofficial rate as high as 15 percent or so, policy makers are talking the talk at least about how jobs are the number one priority.

Democrats want to further extend unemployment insurance for the chronically unemployed and some observers are wondering what it will take for companies to spend their vault full of cash, which sits at the highest level in half a century.

What few people are discussing, however, is that there are actually a lot of jobs going begging these days.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3.4 million job openings at the end of October. This was up from 3 million in September.

In fact, since the most recent trough in July 2009, the number of job openings has risen by 1 million or 44 percent.

However, keep in mind that the number of job openings is still below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007.

Over the past year, the job openings level increased in seven broadly defined industries and decreased in the database's other two broadly-defined industries.

The job openings level was up over the year in three of the four regions: the Northeast, South, and West.

Interesting, the report shows that over the 12 months ending in October, hires (not seasonally adjusted) totaled nearly 50.8 million and separations (not seasonally adjusted)totaled 50 million, resulting in a net employment gain of 0.7 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Of course, the big question is why has unemployment remained stubbornly at just below 10 percent?

Either there are not enough qualified people to fill these jobs, or somehow the employer is not reaching the right people to inform them of openings.

Very disturbing and encouraging at the same time.

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