U.S. Job Openings Set Record High, Global Talent Shortages at 15-Year High

June 11, 2021

Job openings in April soared to a record 9.3 million, well above the dot.com bubble in 2000, while ManpowerGroup reports strong third-quarter hiring intentions and severe talent shortages in Europe.

This amounts to almost one job opening for each of the 9.3 million unemployed in the U.S. in May.  The job opening rate is 50% higher than its previous record.

Quits, which are seen as a gauge of worker confidence that they can find other employment, are also at a record high, while layoffs and discharges are at record lows.

Record high third-quarter U.S. employment outlook:  The latest ManpowerGroup report for the third-quarter 2021 finds the strongest outlook since the survey began in 1982 with 32% of U.S. employers expecting to increase payrolls while just 3% expect to trim payrolls and 63% anticipate no change.

Globally, the strongest third-quarter hiring intentions are in the U.S., Taiwan, Australia, Greece, Ireland, and Singapore, while the weakest are reported in Hong Kong, Argentina, Panama, and South Africa.

Not surprisingly, talent shortages are at a 15-year high, with 69% of companies reporting talent shortages and difficulty hiring.  The latest ManpowerGroup report finds talent shortages most acute in Europe while only 32% of U.S. employers are having difficulty.

Average hourly earnings are rising in certain industries to attract and retain employees especially leisure and hospitality, financial activities, construction. 

Outlook:  Both the quits and job openings rates suggest employers in a broader number of industries may need to raise wages to attract and retain the talent they need.  Prices are also rising to offset product and service input costs.