1 job for every 3 unemployed Americans

That's better than the 7 Americans competing for every open position in 2009, but it's still double the prerecession levels.

By Jason Notte Apr 11, 2013 8:47AM
Man reading job listings © Tetra Images, Tetra images, Getty ImagesOne day, we'll have great news from the American job market to share with all of you. With three unemployed Americans vying for each available job, it's not that day.

According to a Department of Labor study released Tuesday, the number of job openings rose to 3.9 million in February, while roughly 12 million Americans were still unemployed. That's great news if you look back to 2009, when there was one available job for every seven unemployed people in the U.S., but it's still pretty terrible by prerecession standards.

In the halcyon days of 2007, 1.5 people were competing for every job opening. It didn't hurt that back then people were applying for jobs they actually wanted as well. Yes, the U.S. economy has recovered 5.7 million of the 8.7 million jobs shed during the recession. However, The National Employment Law Project says nearly 60% of all jobs lost during the downturn paid middle-income wages or better, but roughly 65% of the regained jobs are low-wage.

Those job seekers now live in a country where, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail salespeople at Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Home Depot (HD), Lowe's (LOW) and elsewhere have the most common job in the country. Nationwide, 4.3 million retail salespeople are making an average of $25,000, or well below the annual mean wage of $45,790. America has more retail workers than Kentucky has citizens and a larger big-box work force than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Washington, D.C., North Dakota, Alaska and South Dakota combined.

And not only are 45% of the nation's unemployed between age 18 and 34, but the Labor Department says the average 25-year-old has already worked 6.3 jobs since he or she turned 18. The U.S. economy would have to add another 4.1 million jobs before young adults get back to prerecession employment levels.

With a PwC study finding that 54% of millennials planned to work for between two and five employers for their entire career and a Career Advisory Board study saying workers between 21 and 31 plan to work only five jobs total during their lifetimes, heightened expectations are crashing into reality on a regular basis in human resources waiting rooms.

More on moneyNOW

Apr 11, 2013 9:44AM

This article doesn't even address the underemployed and the unemployed people that have "given up looking for work".  If everyone that is unemployed is counted, there would still be around 7 people vying for each new job.  The cruel fact is there will never be enough job creation to support the rising population.  Unemployment and underemployment are the new American ways of life.

Apr 11, 2013 10:12AM
In sane times government protected their economies with tariff's and alike keeping workers employed and curtailing foreign goods.  Then along came the Lie about Free Trade.  There never has been Free Trade and there never will be Free Trade.
Apr 11, 2013 11:08AM

49 million people on food stamps, the number of people on disability has doubled since 2009, average wage rates are in the toilet, underemployed and discouraged workers are not counted, and monthly unemployment/jobs data remains too erratic for anyone to accurately discern. 


The administration can spin things however they want, but unemployment in the United States remains double digit and is likely around 14%.  I guess obama's lucky in that he can sell this garbage because most of his supporters can't speak english or never graduated from high school.

Apr 11, 2013 11:39AM
I'm unemployed six months now.  At 63, it's hard to find a job, so I've pretty much given up.  Most jobs I see are not at all related to my qualifications or the commute would be impossible.  I think the available jobs for people over 50 are more like slim to none.
Apr 11, 2013 10:19AM
Used to be we could do what we want, now it's just take what you can get.
Apr 11, 2013 10:55AM
According to the founder and CEO of LinkedIn (CNBC interview), there are ALOT of job openings for individuals with scientific and engineering credentials in America;  however, our "millennials" would rather major in Art, Music, or Gender Studies at a private university, rack up $100,000 in student loan debt, then spend years working as a retail sales clerk for Wal-Mart.  Thank God helicopter mom and dad will let him live in the basement until he "finds himself" at age 35 (the New Adult).  I am in close contact with more millennials than any other age cohort through my career, and - although I admire many of them - overall I have come to the conclusion that the United States is headed for a disaster based on the motivation and skills I observe daily in a large percentage of the narcissistic Generation Y cohort.  But don't worry, mom:  your special snowflake is bound to win The Voice and be a big star someday...  after all, 88% of these kids are "above average" so the odds are definitley in your favor!
Apr 11, 2013 12:27PM
Let's see here: one job opening for every 3 unemployed Americans..May we infer your stats might lead to the wrong conclusion for some readers in the public?.  As you know, it's not just the unemployed going for that job opening. If you add the employed Americans plus add new American workers (teens) additionally tack on the undocumented employed workers in America plus add undocumented unemployed people in America.  Now that opening gets pretty teeny tiny, eh? 
Apr 11, 2013 10:51AM
Apr 11, 2013 10:39AM

USA Elected the Wrongs man for the president he had  no experience, that showing now  this is a sad situation for this great country .

The president only know how to spend other people money. The unemployment situation  he never can solve because his socialistic  idea.


Apr 11, 2013 12:35PM
free trade allows corporations to shop for the cheapest labor thus maximizing profits.its why every proponent of the rich favors free markets.free trade is the biggest disaster this countries ever experienced. Its symptoms are incidious.declining tax revenues that support our elderly,childrens education,infrastructure and standard of living. Jobs that pay poorly,after all how can you demand a fair wage when all they have to do is outsource. Our government knows all of this. But as long as we as a society allow the rich to purchase our representatives free trade/labor undermining will continue

If you think these inaccurate figures in this article are bad, just wait until the student loan bubble bursts like the housing bubble. You can not throw new graduates out into the job market every year, year after year without  ANY JOBS for them. They will be unable to pay the student loans back and the Govt is doubling the interest on them this summer to speed up the bubble bursting. PLUS the Govt has ordered the banks and mtg co's to extend mtgs to higher risk housing applicants to open up the housing market again doing the same thing they did before to create the same housing crisis all over again. ANY LOANS will create problems in a collapsing society losing jobs, losing wages, increasing cost of living and increasing population. We can not sustain the expense of the nation on the shoulders of 25-30% of the people (remaining work force and decreasing). 40% are on social security, military or fed govt retirement, pensions, disability.  20% are now on welfare and poverty strickent. 20% are not even counted anymore  The remaining are on unemployment wages or presently working or no longer working and not receiving welfare (which increases every month and hard to keep up with anyway).

The ONLY thing this article points to are the numbers receiving unemployment vs number of job openings. When people are dropped off unemployment it does NOT mean they have given up looking for work! That's another coined by media term that is absolute horse manure. It just means they are not wasting their time looking for work through the state run job service agency and are no longer receiving any unemployment wages. I read an article abt two months ago by a researcher that took the actual numbers from 2008 job losses and on through the years and the number of permanent jobs added each year. Then he added the seasonal temporary jobs each year to show differences between temp times and remaining. His final conclusion after all of it? That for sure there are over 8 million people in the United States that have been dropped off unemployment that are still not employed nor counted. He claimed the Govt was estimating everyone at abt 80% like it was 100% of the people looking for work which is grossly distorted and sure to eventually collapse the economy making decisions based on the same!

 "It didn't hurt that back then people were applying for jobs they actually wanted as well. Yes, the U.S. economy has recovered 5.7 million of the 8.7 million jobs shed during the recession."


The reason we won't get those 3 million jobs back is because the corporations used this recession as a means/opportunity to shed the slackers from their payroll, so don't be surprised when they are not hired back.

Obama won't be satisfied until the ratio is more like 1:5.
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