There were a whopping 10.4 million job openings in September, according to BLS data released Friday.
The good news is that figure represents a lot of opportunities for Americans. The fact that it’s below its record high is a reminder of how employers continue to add hundreds of thousands of new workers each month.
The bad news is that the high number is a reflection of ongoing labor shortages, which among other things is exacerbating bottlenecks in the supply chains.
The problem is that there are currently far fewer people looking for work today than there were before the pandemic.
According to a different BLS report, there were 3 million fewer people in the civilian labor force — people either working or actively looking for work — as of October compared to February 2020. Assuming the labor force continued to grow like it had over the past decade, that shortfall looks more like 5 or 6 million.