After a little more than a year in office, President Donald Trump’s economic policy boosted employers’ demand for workers to an all-time high of 6.3 million jobs in the United States at the end of January, putting unemployment at a 4.1 percent – a low not seen since the turn of the century in 2000 … nearly a decade before the Obama administration.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that both the private and public sectors of the economy have invigorated under the economic plan of the Trump Administration, as hundreds of thousands of jobs were added over a one-month period shortly after the conclusion of the president’s first year in office.
“On the last business day of January, the job openings level increased to a series high of 6.3 million (+645,000),” announced a BLS economic news release issued Friday. “The job openings level increased for total private (+608,000) and edged up for government [and] the job openings rate increased to 4.1 percent in January, [while] the number of job openings increased in professional and business services (+215,000), transportation, warehousing and utilities (+113,000).”
In addition to the unprecedented numbers for job opportunities in the private business sector, an impressive spike in hiring was divulged.
“[As] total job openings hit 6.3 million – up from 5.7 million the month before – [p]rivate-sector openings also hit a record high,” The Washington Examiner divulged from the newly released government statistics. “Actual hiring, too, rose to 5.58 million in the month – making it the second-best month of the recovery for hires, behind October of last year. Around 360,000 people were hired in manufacturing – the best mark of the recovery.”
Economy looking up
The 6.3 million available jobs marked the most since records began 17 years ago – and the figure also represents the greatest one-month upsurge in nearly three years.
It is anticipated that this increased demand for jobs will also boost salaries and minimum wages in the immediate future.
“The report shows that overall hiring increased by a much smaller amount than job openings – suggesting that employers are having difficulty finding the workers they need,” The Associated Press (AP) stated in a report posted by Newsmax. “That may raise pressure on companies to increase pay in the coming months to attract more applicants.”
The upbeat statistics were gleaned from the BLS’s special Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) – numbers that are recognized as a reliable determinant or indicator of economic growth.
“Investors and the Federal Reserve value those numbers for signs of health in labor markets,” The Washington Examiner’s Joseph Lawler emphasized.
The BLS report interprets into much better prospects for job seekers from coast to coast than at any other time since the turn of the century – and quite possibly back into the last millennium.
“There are fewer unemployed workers relative to job openings,” Lawler noted. “The ratio of unemployed workers to vacancies stands at below 1.1 – a historic low. Even during the days of the housing bubble in the mid-2000s, there were more jobless people for each vacancy.”
Sharpening skills …
With the increased demand for jobs and the challenge of employers to find the skilled labor they need, some contend that colleges and occupational centers need to augment education and training to fill the allegedly existing “skills gap.”
“Business groups argue that many jobs – particularly in manufacturing, administrative work, and information technology – require greater or different skill sets than in the past, and not enough workers have them,” The AP noted. “Some economists respond that businesses should offer higher wages if they are truly desperate for more employees. Americans’ paychecks have picked up a bit in recent years, but by most measures, the gains are still sluggish compared with previous periods when the unemployment rate was this low.”
Even though the demand for new jobs has skyrocketed relative to last year, the supply of new hires for employers has not seen the same impressive jump.
“The report shows that job openings surged nearly 16 percent in January, compared with a year earlier,” the report continued. “Yet the number of jobs getting filled rose just 2.3 percent, to 5.6 million in January.”
The labor market analytics firm, Burning Glass, asserted in a study it released last week that certain occupations and industries report skills gaps for various reasons.
“In information technology, there are 17 percent more jobs open than there are available workers,” AP pointed out from Burning Glass’ figures. “That’s partly because demand in relatively new fields – such as cybersecurity and ‘big data’ analysis – have exploded in recent years. Meanwhile, training programs have been slow to ramp up and teach the new, complex skills needed.”
The research sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Congress said that the increasingly specific job skills required in the technology sector makes hiring the right people today that much more difficult.
“Many of those jobs also combine certain skills, such as software development and business analysis skills,” Burning Glass indicated. “Training for such ‘hybrid jobs’ is more complicated and less available than for more straightforward jobs. In other cases, employers are undercutting their own efforts. In office and administrative work, there are 5 percent more jobs open than qualified workers.”
It appears as if on-the-job training is the best solution for businesses to fill their void – if their demands are to be met any time soon, as Burning Glass reported that 37 percent of job openings for bookkeepers require a college degree, while only 19 percent of those employed as bookkeepers today actually hold degrees.
“[M]any employers increasingly demand four-year college degrees for those jobs – narrowing the number of prospective applicants,” The AP report pointed out. “This so-called ‘upskilling’ accelerated during the slow recovery from the Great Recession – when employers had a much broader pool of workers to choose from – but with the unemployment rate possibly dropping below 4 percent in the coming months, businesses may have to take a more flexible approach.”