While most national job polls seem to focus on the number of unemployed workers as a measure of the US job market, a recent trend suggests a need to study the number of available jobs. Based on a surge in unfilled job openings, now is a good time for workers considering a change to look for a job. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, place job openings for July 2017 at a record high of 4 percent. The numbers amount to approximately one job per jobless worker. You can look for a job in the hotel industry or security jobs if you are looking for one in the Asheville area.
The Big Picture: Less Job Hunting
Despite this kind of career promise, many human resource professionals admit that firms are having a tough time filling open positions. One of the most common reasons is that the labor market is tight, and many companies have almost reached full employment for all positions. About 20 percent of 533 participants in a 2017 Job Insights survey said all of their companies’ positions were filled. Workers do not seem to be considering any outside offers. This may account for the 32 percent of survey respondents who said there was a lack of available applicants. Potential employees who could fill these positions are happy where they are.

Lack of Experience

Employment screeners tend to receive applications from people who just do not have the skills to perform open jobs with an expected success. This lack of experience was the second biggest reason that 30 percent of employers in the Job Insights survey cited for not being able to fill jobs. Add this to the 18 percent that did not find the hard skills they wanted in applicants and the 13 percent who said they needed employees with better soft skills, and the job market has the perfect challenge for recruiters.

Which Industries Hardest Hit

In addition to this being the most stinging pinch that small businesses have felt in the last 16 years, the open jobs rate is also placing a strain on the construction industry. According to a study by the Associated General Contractors of America, nearly 70 percent of US construction firms cannot seem to find skilled trade workers that would enable them to continuously seek new work bids. This means fewer electricians, concrete workers, bricklayers, plumbers, and carpenters are available to join crews for new construction jobs. However, this does not mean that there are no available jobs. You must know where to look. For example, you can go to Moffett Plumbing & Air for plumbing jobs. You can also visit sites like asburyelectric.com/careers/ for openings.

The effect has a different tension in each US region, with the West having the toughest challenges while handling a 75 percent shortage. Even in the Northeast region, where the shortages appear to be smaller at 63 percent, contractors are still at a loss for more than half of their skilled trade workforce. The South and the Midwest are at 70 and 72 percent respectively. Companies who depend on new contracts to grow revenue cannot meet building needs demands.

Industries with the Most Openings

Accommodation and food services make up the sector with the most unfilled job openings. Companies serving these industries provide customers with lodging meal preparation and beverages, and both lodging and food are typically provided in the same establishment. Food preparation and serving workers, as well as wait staff, make up the bulk of these job openings. Other industries where there are large openings include healthcare, public assistance, leisure and hospitality services, professional and business services, and education. While federal and government jobs have made this list for most available openings, they have less than half as many jobs available as accommodation and food service firms.

Other Factors

One unforeseen influence on recent job market trends is the aftermath of both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the states of Texas and Florida. About 14 percent of employment in the United States rests in these two states where businesses have closed and temporary unemployment is rising.

Although it has not yet started happening, many hiring industry experts believe employers will eventually have to start increasing their offered pay rates for open positions if they expect to fill them. Right now, workers do not have this as an incentive to leave and start new jobs, and many of them stay with the security of their current positions. At 4.3 percent, the national unemployment rate has reached a historic low. That is more of a reason for employers to keep salaries where they are.

Although employers are in a scramble to find the most qualified people to fill open positions, the Fed views the current job market as stable and promising. This means that the market as a whole does not need any assistance to boost performance. While many may be considering higher salary offers to get essential open positions filled with quality workers, not many have taken an action in this direction. If more skilled worker applicants appear to look for a job, they will not have to.

Graphic Source
“Where the Jobs Are,” Number of open jobs per 100 employed in each sector, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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