The unemployment rate for the past 15 months has averaged above 9.5%, which makes the current economic recovery, according to John Lott of Fox News, the worst "recovery" since the Great Depression.

Lott notes that the latest unemployment rate in September of 9.6 percent is bad enough, with a loss of almost 400,000 jobs since May. But if you taken into account those who have given up looking for work and those forced to take part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, the unemployment rate is really 17.1 percent.

Here's something else to consider. The government surveys people over just a few days during the middle of the month to get its figure. The Gallup organization does its own unemployment survey each month where they interview 30,000 people over the entire month. They found a huge increase in the number of unemployed during the last half of September, right after the Department of Labor's survey was conducted and that unemployment has actually risen to over 10 percent.

Interestingly, when Barrack Obama began his presidency, unemployment was 7.6 percent. And today, despite those stimulus efforts to create jobs, the job market is in worse shape. What's going on? If more jobs are supposed to be available, why are more people out of work?

Could it be that companies are simply taking their time to fill those openings, or in some cases, not filling them at all?

A survey has found that employers are indeed being choosier in who they hire, are taking longer to make decisions, or are merely not trying as hard to fill the openings they have. The reasons, according to the giant staffing firm, Manpower Inc. include lack of confidence about the economy, an attempt to increase productivity among workers they already have, and a feeling that they have plenty of time to pick the best candidates.

It's not unusual for some organizations to spend a year looking for the right person to fill a mid to upper level management position. Why then do they keep job postings open? Some hiring managers are afraid that if they take the job opening down they'll lose a position that they one day may want to fill.

Meanwhile job applicants remain frustrated when they apply for these positions and then never hear back. Or they spend time going on interviews only to learn the position has been frozen or filled from within. If you're looking for a job and see an ad, don't automatically assume there's actually a position open, even though you may be right for it.

Economists estimate that if openings were turning into jobs at the pace they usually do, the unemployment rate would be about three percentage points lower.

Recent survey

A recent study by three economists - Steven Davis of the University of Chicago,  R. Jason Faberman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland - using Labor Department data, created what they call an estimate of "recruiting intensity."

This takes into account factors that influence how fast employers fill open jobs, such as advertising, pay and the rigor of their screening process. As of August, the recruiting intensity index stood 14% below the average for the seven years leading up to the recession. The economists estimate that the lack of intensity accounts for about a quarter of the shortfall in hires compared with openings.