August 16, 2022

Economix: Nearly 5 Workers for Every Available Job



Dollars to doughnuts.

More bad news on the job market front: the number of jobless workers per job opening stayed flat at 4.7 in May, according to a new report from the Labor Department. That is more than twice the average ratio seen during the boom years that preceded the Great Recession.

DESCRIPTIONSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

As Henry Mo, vice president for economics at Credit Suisse, observed in a note to clients on Tuesday, “Even if all job vacancies were filled overnight, almost 11 million workers would still be left unemployed.”

The quantity of actual hiring stayed flat, too, and the number of separations, both voluntary and involuntary, rose slightly.

DESCRIPTIONSource: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics Levels shown refer to the total number of workers quitting, or laid off or discharged, each month.

These trends in separations may not sound like something to celebrate, but one silver lining may be that they eventually could lead to more job openings.

Part of the problem with the labor market is that there is so little churn; that is, companies aren’t hiring partly because no one is leaving. Hopefully having more separations will give companies reason to ramp up hiring, and hopefully that will lead to having more jobs on net. I realize, though, that that’s a lot of hopefullys.

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