Job openings surged in March as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic


Job openings surged in March as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic

5 Nov 2021

Today’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reports an all-time high number of job openings, surging to 8.1 million for the end of March. This is a positive sign that the economy is moving forward. While hires were little changed, I’m optimistic that in coming months those job openings will translate into filled jobs. One important indicator from today’s report is the job seekers ratio—the ratio of unemployed workers (averaged for mid-March and mid-April) to job openings (at the end of March). On average, there were 9.8 million unemployed workers compared with 8.1 million job openings. This translates into a job seekers ratio of 1.2 unemployed workers to every job opening. Put another way, for every 12 workers who were officially counted as unemployed, there were only available jobs for 10 of them. That means, no matter what they did, there were no jobs for 1.6 million unemployed workers. As with job losses, workers in certain industries are facing a steeper uphill battle. In the construction industry as well as arts, entertainment, and recreation, there were more than two unemployed workers per job opening. In educational services, accommodation and food services, other services, and transportation and utilities, there were more than three unemployed workers for every two job openings. JOLTS Unemployment and job openings by industry (in thousands), March 2021 Industry Unemployment, three-month average Job openings, three-month average Ratio Mining 108.3 24.3 4.5 Construction 898.0 305.0 2.9 Arts, entertainment, and recreation 379.7 152.0 2.5 Transportation and utilities 621.7 347.3 1.8 Other services 482.7 274.7 1.8 Accommodation and food services 1369.0 802.7 1.7 Real estate and rental and leasing 137.7 81.0 1.7 Educational services 228.7 136.0 1.7 Retail trade 1154.3 738.3 1.6 Information 171.3 111.7 1.5 Durable goods manufacturing 415.3 319.3 1.3 Nondurable goods manufacturing 319.0 281.0 1.1 Finance and Insurance 223.3 247.0 0.9 Wholesale trade 200.7 224.7 0.9 Government 612.0 733.3 0.8 Professional and business services 1155.0 1395.7 0.8 Health care and social assistance 736.7 1356.0 0.5 Chart Data Download data The data below can be saved or copied directly into Excel. The data underlying the figure. Notes: Unemployment levels represent the average of the unemployment level for the current month and the subsequent month in the Current Population Survey to better line up with the job openings data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Both unemployment data and job openings data are then averaged over three months to smooth for better data reliability. These data are non-seasonally adjusted so caution is warranted when making comparisons across time
coronavirus jobs jobs and unemployment


Elise Gould

Published in