Bridging the gap between job openings and the unemployed

There are two unemployed individuals in the U.S. for every current job opening.

Below is a top-down, back-of-the-envelope calculation to put employment statistics in context.

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  • The current population of the U.S. is 319 million;
  • The number of working age persons is 250 million;
  • Labor force participation is 62.5 percent, meaning number of working age persons on record is 155.8 million;
  • The unemployment rate in the currently is 4.9 percent. This means 4.9 percent of 155.8 million people are unemployed, or 7.6 million;
  • However, per Congressional Budget Office, if we had full employment, the labor force would number about 159.2 million. The people making up the 3.4 million difference between 159.2 million and 155.8 million are “missing workers” – jobless workers who would be in the labor force if job opportunities were stronger;
  • Adding 7.6 million and 3.4 million comes to 11 million, which is the real number of unemployed in the U.S. As a percentage of full employment workforce, this comes to 11 / 159.2—or 6.9 percent as the real unemployment;
  • Currently there are about 5.5 million job openings in the U.S., and 11 million people looking for a job in the U.S.

One might ask—why are 5.5 million jobs unfilled with 11 million people looking for work? Well—things are not that simple. There are mismatches in geography and talent that prevent jobs getting filled with the current field of unemployed.

It must be also noted that the ratio of the number of unemployed to number of job openings is even more drastic in other countries—in the U.K., for example, there are three unemployed job-seekers for every job opening.  In Australia and Germany, these ratios are five-to-one and six-to-one respectively.

The above numbers indicate that the mismatch between job openings and the unemployed will be persistent, but there is always room to make it better. Better training of the workforce and facilitating geographic movement will help. Services of companies like HireJar will also help to mitigate this issue because it encourages companies to fill the jobs faster with qualified candidates quickly on a contract basis, rather than keeping the job vacancies open for too long.

By considering workers on a remote basis, yet another barrier is overcome and geography no longer comes into play as an impediment.

The resulting benefits are two-fold, as companies can quickly fill key openings with qualified workers from anywhere in the U.S., and talented professionals are presented with promising opportunities that may grow into permanent positions.

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