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Posted May 16, 2013 by

Despite High Unemployment Overall, Severe Talent Shortage Plaguing Some Sectors and Regions

John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas

John Challenger of Challenger, Gray & Christmas

Rising quit rates and fewer job seekers vying for open positions could signal a return to the types of labor shortages that plagued employers during the dot.com boom.  While widespread talent shortages are probably five to ten years away, some regions and industries already may be feeling the pinch, according to the workplace authorities at global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“With 11.6 million Americans still unemployed as of April, it may be difficult for most to contemplate labor shortages.  However, it is important that not all of the unemployed reside where jobs are being created at the fastest rate and many lack the skills required to fill the openings that exist.  These two factors alone make skill shortages a reality right now for some employers,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.  (more…)

Posted April 10, 2012 by

Number of Job Openings Up 46% Since June 2009

There were 3.5 million job openings on the last business day of
February, little changed from January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. The hires rate (3.3 percent) and
separations rate (3.1 percent) were little changed in February. The
job openings rate, at 2.6 percent, has trended upward since the end of
the recession in June 2009. (Recession dates are determined by the
National Bureau of Economic Research.) This release includes estimates
of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the
nonfarm sector by industry and by geographic region.

Job Openings

The number of job openings in February was 3.5 million, little changed
from January. Although the number of job openings
remained below the 4.3 million openings when the recession began in
December 2007, the number of job openings has increased 46 percent
since the end of the recession in June 2009.

The number of job openings in February (not seasonally adjusted)
increased over the year for total nonfarm, total private, and
government. Retail trade, health care and social assistance, and state
and local government had increases in the number of job openings over
the year. The Midwest and South regions also experienced an increase
in the number of job openings over the year.

Hires

In February, the hires rate was essentially unchanged at 3.3 percent
for total nonfarm. The hires rate increased in professional and
business services over the month and was little changed in the
remaining industries and regions. The number of hires
in February was 4.4 million, still below the 5.0 million hires at the
beginning of the recession (December 2007) but was up 19 percent since
the end of the recession (June 2009).

Over the 12 months ending in February, the hires rate (not seasonally
adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm and total private but
increased for government. The hires rate rose over the year in health
care and social assistance and in state and local government. The
hires rate increased in the South region over the year.

Separations

The total separations figure includes voluntary quits, involuntary
layoffs and discharges, and other separations, including retirements.
Total separations also is referred to as turnover.

The seasonally adjusted total separations rate was little changed in
February for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Over the year, 
the total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed
for total nonfarm, total private, and government.

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or
ability to change jobs. In February, the quits rate was little changed
for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The
number of quits rose to 2.1 million in February from 1.8 million at
the end of the recession in June 2009, although it remained below the
2.9 million recorded when the recession began in December 2007.

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) in February 2012
increased from February 2011 for total nonfarm and was little changed
for total private and government. The number of quits over the year
was little changed in all four regions.

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is
seasonally adjusted at the total nonfarm, total private, and
government levels and for the four regions. The layoffs and discharges
rate was essentially unchanged in February 2012 for total nonfarm,
total private, government, and in all four regions. (See table B.) The
number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was 1.7 million in
February, down from 2.1 million at the end of the recession in June
2009.

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) for total
nonfarm, total private, and government was little changed from
February 2011 to February 2012. Over the year, the number of layoffs
and discharges rose for mining and logging. The number of layoffs and
discharges was little changed over the year in all four regions.

The other separations component of total separations is seasonally
adjusted at the total nonfarm, total private, and government levels.
Other separations include separations due to retirement, death, and
disability, as well as transfers to other locations of the same firm.
In February 2012, there were 329,000 other separations for total
nonfarm, 270,000 for total private, and 59,000 for government. (See
table C.) The number of other separations for total nonfarm in
February 2012 was 12 percent higher than at the end of the recession
in June 2009.

Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout
the business cycle. Net employment change results from the
relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires
exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires
level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is
less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the
hires level is steady or rising. Over the 12 months ending in February
2012, hires totaled 50.6 million and separations totaled 48.6 million,
yielding a net employment gain of 2.0 million. These figures include
workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during
the year.