Job Openings Hit Another Record

July 09, 2021

The number of U.S. job openings in May rose to 9.2 million, or one for every unemployed American, with openings in education and health services, professional and business services, and nondurable manufacturing substantially exceeding that ratio.

There are two job openings for every unemployed person in the education and health services industry (1.96).  Meanwhile, the professional and business services industry has 57% more job openings than unemployed persons and nondurable manufacturing has 53% more job openings.

At the other end of the spectrum, mining (.36), construction (.47), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (.68) have far fewer job openings than unemployed Americans.

Takeaway:  There is clearly a structural mismatch between who is unemployed (based on their previous industry) and where the jobs are in the U.S. (industries looking for workers).  The percentage of long-term unemployed (27 or more weeks) is also approaching the record highs set in 2011.  Congress will have a difficult decision before September 6 regarding COVID UI benefits: let them expire for 10.7 million people—something that has never happened before for so many people—or extend them again and risk prolonging the U.S. economy's transition out of COVID.