There has never been a better time to look for a job in the United States, at least according to the reports issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the second month in a row, the number of job openings was greater than the total number of unemployed workers.
According to the May Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, released on July 10, about 600,000 people started looking for a job, meaning they are now counted in official unemployment numbers. In May, the total number of unemployed was 6.56 million, up from 6 million in April. However, the total number of job openings in May was greater, at 6.62 million.
Prior to April, the BLS had never reported more job openings than unemployed workers. The fact that there remain over 6 million Americans officially unemployed, despite the fact that there are over 6 million job openings, is testimony to the skills gap in the American economy—workers often lack the skills needed for jobs that are available.
In a press release, CEO Karen Kerrigan of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council said, “Small businesses are in need of quality human capital to scale their firms and take advantage of opportunities in the growing economy.”
A sign that the American people are feeling the positive job market can be seen in the BLS numbers of how many people quit their jobs. In May, a record 3.5 million voluntarily left their jobs, an indication they have confidence that they feel they can find a better job elsewhere.
The preliminary report on the June job numbers shows strong employment trends continuing.
The economy added 213,000 jobs, which bested the predicted 195,000. Although employment remains strong, wages have not increased, as economists have hoped. The annual wage increase remains at 2.7 percent.