Were there really twice as many job openings as unemployed people? 🤨
Addressing doubts about the reliability of job openings data 🤔
The economy has a ton of jobs to fill.
According to BLS data released Wednesday, U.S. employers had 10.33 million job openings listed in October, down modestly from the 10.69 million openings reported in September. While openings remain below the record high of 11.85 million in March, they remain well above pre-pandemic levels.
During the period, there were 6.06 million people unemployed. That means there were 1.70 job openings per unemployed person in October. While this is down from 1.99 in March, it still suggests there are lots of opportunities out there for job seekers.
Occasionally, I’ll hear someone argue there’s no way there are actually this many job openings. There are at least two reasonable theories to support this argument: 1) It doesn’t cost anything to post a job opening, so why wouldn’t an employer post a lot of jobs they don’t intend to fill if it gets them a free peek into the candidate pool? 2) For some positions, an employer may list the same job multiple times with slightly different descriptions in their effort to cast a wider net for candidates.
I’ll start by saying I believe both of these acts are happening to some degree. They’ve probably been happening for thousands of years.
But if we’re talking about what this means for the economy, then we must ask if this changes how we think about tightness in the labor market.
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