The number of jobs that are available is at a record high. Tens of thousands of companies have these positions are are trying to hire people to work them, but they just can’t find individuals with the skills or initiative necessary to actually do the work. This has been a continuing pattern for over 12 months now. The fact is that Americans can’t or won’t do what is necessary for these positions, and this is a national crisis that is referred to as a Jobs Skill Gap.
As of July 2016 there are 5.9 million job openings according to the monthly JOLTs report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey). This is a record number of positions open, and this data is going back to when the data started to be collected in 2000. So the number of job openings is higher than it has been in 16 years.
Also, compare this to when the “great recession” ended in July 2009. There were only 2.1 millions jobs available at that point in time per the JOLTs report. So since the end of the recession there have been tens of millions of jobs created and there are still almost six million positions unavailable. The economy is very strong for anyone that wants to work and that has some skills that an employer wants.
More and more employers, economists, government officials, and other experts (such as from MUFG Union Bank) state that the only explanation for this Job Skills Gap is that either (1) companies just can’t find people with the right skills or (2) Americans are just not motivated to work. In either case this is a bad omen for the economy. It is holding back overall GDP growth, impacts productivity, and over time this will reduce the living standards of Americans.
As we approach the 2016 election season there is a lot of noise from politicians on getting people back to work. However all of that “noise” does not reflect reality. There have been tens of millions of Americans hired since the recession and anyone that wants to work (or that has any skills at all), can get a job. Most of these positions are also in professional roles as well.
These are not all low paying positions. In fact, most of them are in professional services, such as IT (1.2 million openings) or teachers (1.1 million openings). There are about 500,000 job openings in the government, and almost 1 million is trade/transportation. Out of the total of 5.9 million positions available as of July 2016, only open 700,000 are in “leisure and hospitality, which tend to be more lower paying.
To learn how to search for some of these 1.1 mission professional service or IT jobs, or to sign up for classes or workshops to train for them, you can contact a Workforce Center. Or you can try a local community action agency. There are a wide number of federal government funded job training programs for people of all backgrounds to use. They allow access to computers, have posting to search, provide resume assistance, and much more.
So the fast majority of openings are in moderate to high paying positions. Yet no one is working them. So what is wrong? This goes back to our point (and from many economist include BoA) that say Americans just can’t work them for lack of skills.
Just one small example of this…We are astonished by how many unprofessional emails we receive from people asking for help. They have typos, unprofessional email addresses, lack punctuation, and dozens of other issues. So people can’t even write, most or less obtain the skills needed in today’s economy.
Another examples. There was a study from Burning Glass and Oracle Academy show that 50% of positions require strong IT skills, even some basic knowledge of coding. This also goes to show that as of July 2016, the job skills gap in this country is still tremendous.