That’s how many job openings there were for every unemployed person in March—the most for any month since at least 2000 and a clear sign of how much the economy favors workers rather than employers right now.
The number of job openings per unemployed person has shot up over the past year as employers have been trying to fill positions faster than people who left the workforce during the pandemic have returned. In fact, the ratio has grown to new record highs every month since August, and it’s been a while since there hasn’t been at least one job for every unemployed person, Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed Tuesday.
The extraordinary number of jobs per job hunter is yet another sign that it’s workers, not employers, who have the upper hand in hiring in today’s economy. Businesses have a lot of work and are eager to hire, and are raising wages to attract and retain what workers they can find. The job market is so good, in fact, that some economists view it as a problem, with wage increases adding fuel to the inflation fire.
Economists expect the good employment situation to factor into the Federal Reserve’s decision-making this week as it strategizes how much to raise the benchmark interest rate in order to bring that inflation under control. Fed officials have viewed the good job market as a sign that the economy will be able to withstand higher borrowing costs without going into a recession.
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