Labor shortage: Job opening nationally reach a record 10.9 million.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided another data point confirming the labor shortage plaguing employers in our state and nationally. 

The number of job openings increased to a series high of 10.9 million on the last business day of July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and total separations were little changed at 6.7 million and 5.8 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.7 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.0 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, by four geographic regions, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings

On the last business day of July, the number and rate of job openings increased to series highs of 10.9 million (+749,000) and 6.9 percent, respectively. Job openings increased in several industries, with the largest increases in health care and social assistance (+294,000); finance and insurance (+116,000); and accommodation and food services (+115,000). The number of job openings increased in the Northeast, South, and West regions.

The report, released today, follows the disappointing August jobs report.

The Associated Press reports,

After shedding millions of workers from payrolls last year, the rapid snapback in economic activity has left many businesses severely short-staffed. “Help Wanted” signs can be seen in the windows of businesses across the U.S., and many restaurants have limited their hours of operation.

Employers have offered incentives to attract applicants — like higher wages and one-time bonuses — but the pool of available workers remains constrained by pandemic-related factors.

Looking ahead, hiring constraints should ebb as virus fears abate and schools reopen for in-person learning. However, the surge of infections related to the delta variant and its impact on schools and Americans’ general sense of safety in the workplace could delay significant improvement in filling positions.

The economic recovery cannot afford a delay.