Job openings scarcer than ever

Six unemployed for every job opening -- and they're telling us the recession is over?

By Kim Peterson Oct 16, 2009 1:05PM
Man with head in hands © CorbisHere's one of the more discouraging facts I've come across in a while: At the end of August there were fewer than 2.4 million job openings in the country.

To put this in perspective, that equals only 1.8% of all the filled and unfilled positions in the U.S. That's a new record low, according to the Atlanta Fed.


For every job opening, there were more than six unemployed people. That's a very bleak scenario, particularly when you compare it to 2007, when the ratio was less than 1.5.


The underlying message here is pretty obvious.  "Finding a job right now is extremely difficult," writes John Robertson of the Atlanta Fed's research department.


You can see how this situation has affected the quit rate as well, which is at a record low of 1.3%. The people that are lucky enough to be employed are staying put.


And the tough job market has also caused people to spend more time unemployed. By the end of August, the average length of time people are unemployed has increased to 26 weeks.


With numbers like this, it's hard to believe the economy is in recovery and expansion mode.
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