Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jobseekers vs. openings still out of whack

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this week released its latest JOLTS data (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey), and as always the Economic Policy Institute was ready with its own analysis (and graph, above).

According to the BLS, the ratio of unemployed persons to available jobs was 5-to-1 in September, slightly weaker than in August (4.8-to-1), but better than the ratio seen when the recession ended in June 2009 (5.8-to-1). Since July 2009, though, the number of job openings has increased 25 percent, says the BLS, to 2.9 million in September.

But hiring levels have remained anemic. (JOLTS, released monthly, looks at job openings, hires and separations -- quits and involuntary -- on the last business day of each month.) According to the BLS, September saw 4.2 million hires, up 9 percent since the recession ended but below the level of 5.0 million hires when the recession began in December 2007.

The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says the latest JOLTS report shows the same "stalling out" in the economy that has characterized other labor market data since earlier this year.

Then the EPI adds this twist: "if we were to include not just the 14.8 million unemployed workers, but also the 9.5 million 'involuntarily part-time' workers -- part-time workers who want and are available for a full-time job, and are therefore likely job searching -- the ratio would be 8.3-to-1."


EPI also uses the JOLTS release to draw attention to the planned Nov. 30 expiration of long-term unemployment benefits, and calls on Congress to extend them through 2011.

No comments: