Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Ever fewer jobs for the unemployed

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) data for January 2009, which included revisions for the entire series. Job openings declined 7.2% in January to 3 million, down 32% from the start of the recession in December 2007. With the number of jobless at 11.6 million in January, there were 8.6 million more unemployed workers than available jobs – or 3.9 job seekers per job opening. (By comparison, at the start of the recession there were 1.7 unemployed workers per job opening, less than half of what we see today.) Furthermore, with the unemployment rolls increasing by well over 800,000 in February, there were easily over 4 unemployed workers per job opening last month. In this labor market, unemployed workers are seeing their chances of finding a job grow ever dimmer. — Heidi Shierholz

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