‘With growing COIVD-19 cases and falling employment, the incoming Biden administration will be facing a mounting — not waning — crisis.’
In November, the number of job openings softened to 6.5 million from 6.6 million the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics released this month, while hires were essentially unchanged, increasing to 5.98 million from 5.91 million. Layoffs rose to 2 million from 1.7 million on the month.
This increase was described Tuesday as “troubling” by the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank. “The latest congressional relief bill is an important step toward addressing some of this pain, but it is not at the scale of the problem. I’m hopeful that more relief measures are on the horizon for increasingly desperate workers and their families. Senate Republicans forced the December bill to be far too small,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the EPI.
“The U.S. economy is seeing a significantly slower hiring pace than we experienced in May or June — roughly where it was before the recession, which is a big problem given that we have only recovered just over half of the job losses from this spring,” the EPI said. “And job openings are now substantially below where they were before the recession began.”
There were 10.7 million unemployed workers, but only 6.5 million job openings in November. “This translates into a job seeker ratio of about 1.6 unemployed workers to every job opening,” Gould said, “or for every 16 workers who were officially counted as unemployed, there were only available jobs for 10 of them. That means, no matter what they did, there were no jobs for 4.2 million unemployed workers.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics data only covers through November, so is likely rosier than the actual jobs landscape, according to EPI. “It doesn’t even capture December’s job losses, which were substantial. With hiring and job openings at these levels, the economy is facing a long, slow recovery without additional action from Congress,” Gould added. The job losses, thus far, have been concentrated in the services sector, signaling a two-tired economic and…
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