Job openings continued to outpace unemployed workers in December

Photo (c) tadamichi - Getty Images

While businesses have come back, a government report shows that workers haven’t

If you’re looking for a job right now, you just might be in the minority. New data from the Labor Department shows that there were 4.6 million more job openings in December than people seeking to fill them.

There were fewer people quitting jobs at the end of the year, but employers increased their search for workers as the economy continued to bounce back from early lows during the pandemic. There were 10.9 million job openings on the last business day of December, the government reported.

In December, the number of hires decreased to 6.3 million, a decline of 330,000. The hiring rate was little changed at 4.2%.

The situation has apparently been building for several months. In August, Tyler, of Cedar Park, Texas, told us that he has seen the difference when using Ziprecruiter to find employees.

“Last year I had 50 job openings posted and in 5 days got over 350 applicants,” he wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “The same jobs posted for the same time period this year and I have 37 applicants, 1/10th of what they did last year. Eighteen of the ads have been viewed by no one!”

Tyler’s review suggested the fault lay with Ziprecruiter. However, in light of millions of people quitting jobs and not seeking new ones, there may be other reasons for his lack of response.

More jobs, fewer applicants

As businesses fight for fewer and fewer people looking for work, job security is increasing. The Labor Department report shows that layoffs and firings plunged to 1.17 million, a nearly 11% decline from November. It’s a decline of nearly 36% from December 2020, a record low.

“Given the trouble that businesses are having in finding and attracting new hires, employers are hanging onto the workers they’ve got,” Sinem Buber, the lead economist at ZipRecruiter, told CNBC.

The only good news for businesses appeared to be a slowdown in the “Great Resignation” in December. The number of people turning in their resignation declined by 161,000 to 4.3 million.

Even so, millions of jobs remained unfilled. Job openings increased in several industries, with the largest increases at hotels and restaurants that were seeking a combined 133,000 new employees.

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