Since the Great Recession, which began in 2007, our economy has plummeted and been again on the rise. It is common to hear that things in our economy are looking up from where we were six years ago. Employers are opening positions, virtually everywhere, but the problem is, these positions remain open. An article by Floyd Norris out of the New York Times discusses this matter more extensively. Janet L. Yellen uses the monthly JOLTS reports in her economic assessments to show readers the figures that are, to some, astonishing. She utilizes the numbers out of the JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) reports to determine what is in store for our country next. June of 2014, there were 4.57 million job openings from employers that were not filled. This number is higher than it was back in 2007 before the Great Recession hit when the average was 4.48 million unfilled.
These rates are affected by the number of people who quit, are fired, are transferred, who are out for extended medical leave or death. Firings, as one could imagine were at an all-time high by the end of 2007 when there was economic panic spreading. This rate is now considerably lower than it was before the Great Recession. One thing that Yellen looks at while looking at the JOLT report is the number of people quitting their jobs. The people who quit are often not worried about finding another job, otherwise they would, presumably, not be quitting their secure job. This number, when high, is a good indication that our labor market is in good health. Since this number has gone up from its previous rates, it is a good indicator that we should be prosperity in the labor market. However, the rate of new employment or hiring has remained at very low levels, which depresses the health for the labor market.
While we are being told that the labor market and our economy have been getting considerably better than we were back in 2007, there are a few signs that are proving to disagree with this. When our new hire rates begin to rise at the same time that our quitting rates remain high, we will then begin to see labor market prosperity in its full light.
Adapted from an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer from August 24, 2014.