There are a reported 3.2 million job openings in the country. With the total number of unemployed people at 14 million, we might think these openings wouldn’t last long. But they have. N.C. State University economists points out the possible reasons.
“Well, three potential reasons: One is, it’s clear there’s a mismatch of skills. Many of the jobs that are open require skills that the unemployed who don’t have jobs simply don’t have. So that tells us that we need a major effort in looking at the skills that the unemployed folks have (and) getting them retrained for the types of jobs that are available.
“Just let me give you one example: There … are a lot of truck driver jobs open driving these big 18-wheelers across country, for example. You just can’t come off the street and take that job. You’ve got to have training. And apparently we just don’t have enough people to fill all those jobs.
“Another issue clearly is the weak housing market. In order for there to be a match between people and jobs, the people have to be where the jobs are. And increasingly the jobs are not available equally across the country. They are in certain regions and areas, and the weak housing market has prevented many of those folks who would like to move from moving. They just can’t afford to move, or they can’t find buyers for their home. So that’s the second reason.
“The third reason … I have to tell our listeners is very controversial, very controversial. Some economists and others say that the fact that we have extended unemployment benefits to I believe now over 100 weeks has actually motivated some unemployed folks perhaps not to look as hard or do the things they need to do to find a new job. Now I have to … caution our listeners not every economist agrees with this. There’s evidence you can find on both sides, but some put that up as perhaps another factor behind this fact that we do have job openings but they’re not being taken by people.”