More Job Postings, But Slow To Hire Per BLS


U.S. employers posted 4.8 million job openings at the end of August, the most since the recession ended in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as JOLTS. There are now fewer than two unemployed workers for every available job opening.

But companies are posting new jobs faster than they’re filling them. Employers hired nearly 300,000 fewer workers in August than in July. Job openings have more than doubled since the recession ended, but hiring is up by just 27 percent.

FiveThirtyEight’s chief economics writer, Ben Casselman reports “Corporate executives often explain the discrepancy by citing the difficulty of finding workers with the necessary skills. But the lack of wage growth calls that theory into question: If companies are having trouble finding workers, they should be raising pay to recruit the few qualified candidates who are available.”

“More likely, the economy isn’t strong enough to force companies to hire. There are still enough unemployed workers that companies can post jobs and wait for the perfect candidate.”

“It isn’t just companies that are being cautious. Workers are, too. The number of workers who voluntarily quit their jobs fell slightly in August and has been essentially flat all year. That’s a sign employees aren’t yet confident enough in the economy to take a risk.”