The labor shortage is about more than job quitters 💼
Fertility, COVID deaths, and immigration are playing big roles 📉
There were a record 11.55 million job openings in March, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released on Tuesday.
During the same period, there were just 5.95 million unemployed people, making for a 3.6% unemployment rate.
To put it another way, there were nearly 2 job openings per unemployed person. See the chart above from Indeed.
This huge gap between the number of job openings and the number of people without jobs seeking work reflects just how tight the labor market has become. It helps explain why wages have been going up, which in turn helps to explain why inflation has been high. Indeed, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said he hopes tighter monetary policy will help ease demand for labor and help prices cool.1
One of the reasons the labor market has been challenged is job quitters. A record 4.54 million people quit their jobs in March. While many quitters leave to fill other jobs,2 plenty are just taking a break, relying on a partner’s income, starting their own business (like me!), consolidating jobs, and so on.
But the ongoing shortage in labor is about more than quitters.