Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In spite of high unemployment, many job positions left unfilled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 13th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With high unemployment rife across the United States, the logical conclusion would be those that are hiring have a wide pool from which to draw upon. That's not the case, as more than half of U.S. employers say they're having difficulty filling job openings because they couldn't find qualified workers. The survey, conducted by the staffing firm Manpower Group found a huge 38 percentage point jump from 2010, when only 14 percent said they were having trouble filling positions.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Economists along with labor experts say in many industries, there is a legitimate talent shortage. For many, there simply aren't enough qualified people to fill the positions they so desperately need.

Others think that there are other factors making it difficult for employers to connect with the right employees. "Employers have been spoiled by the recession," Melanie Holmes, a vice president with Manpower Group says.

Some think that the nation's high unemployment rate left many recruiters feeling they didn't have to expend effort to find a great candidate, and they could skimp on money or benefits.

Employers also may not be willing to spend the time or money training someone for a highly specialized job, or one that requires unique skills.

"Employers are getting pickier and pickier," Holmes said. "We want the perfect person to walk through the door."

Employers just aren't working as hard as they used to recruit workers, either because they can't afford to or they don't feel like they have to.

Steven J. Davis, a professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, regularly tracks "recruiting intensity per vacancy," or how hard employers are looking for the right employees. Davis says that recruiting intensity declined a lot at the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

With economic recovery weak, Davis says that "maybe most employers don't feel a great sense of urgency in order to increase their ranks."

Davis thinks one big issue is the plethoras of mostly male workers who may have made a decent living in low-skill construction or manufacturing jobs but now find they can no longer get a job in those fields - and don't have the education or training to get a different job.

"There's a generation of young men who might have gotten the training to become a health care tech but instead they're working in the construction sector, and it's difficult to make that transition if you're now in your early 30s and you've been earning a good living in construction," he said.

However -- the gap between what employers want and which workers are available isn't nearly enough to explain the nation's high unemployment rate. Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute notes that unemployment rates are elevated across most industries and all education levels, which is a sign that there simply aren't enough jobs to go around.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)