Durable Goods Manufacturers Struggle to Find Qualified Applicants

The typical job vacancy in durable goods manufacturing remains unfilled longer, on average, than at any time in the past decade.  This suggests that durable goods manufacturers struggle to find qualified applicants for their job openings as the economy slowly recovers from the deep recession of 2008 and 2009.  In contrast the average construction job vacancy remains unfilled half as long as it did during the construction boom because there are many qualified jobless workers for each job opening.  Construction employment fell by almost 30% between 2007 and 2010, and has not grown since January 2010.

The BLS JOLTS data report job openings at the end of each month and the number of persons hired per month, by major sector of the economy.  For example, there have been an average of 194,000 job openings in durable goods manufacturing at the end of each month, and 157,000 workers hired per month over the past three months.  This implies that the average job vacancy remains unfilled for about 38 days.  In contrast, at the depth of the recession in the fall of 2009 the average durable goods job vacancy remained unfilled for less than two weeks.  The following figure shows the average number of days a job vacancy remained unfilled over the past decade in three sectors impacted by the recession: construction, financial services and durable goods manufacturing.

 

The average job vacancy in financial services now remains unfilled for about 40 days compared to 25 days in the fall of 2009.  The financial services labor market had the least slack in the summer of 2006, when the typical job vacancy remained unfilled for about 7 weeks.

It was most difficult to hire a construction worker in the summer of 2007 when the average job vacancy remained unfilled for about 15 days.  In contrast, in the early fall of 2009, the average construction job opening remained unfilled for less than 5 days.

The average job vacancy in financial services now remains unfilled for about 40 days compared to 25 days in the fall of 2009.  The financial services labor market had the least slack in the summer of 2006, when the typical job vacancy remained unfilled for about 7 weeks.

It was most difficult to hire a construction worker in the summer of 2007 when the average job vacancy remained unfilled for about 15 days.  In contrast, in the early fall of 2009, the average construction job opening remained unfilled for less than 5 days.

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