Job Openings Hit Record High, Outnumber Jobless for First Time


Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 6, 2018
Job Openings Hit Record High, Outnumber Jobless for First Time

​The number of available jobs exceeded the number of unemployed U.S. workers for the first time since records were kept for this statistic 18 years ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported June 5.

There were 6.7 million U.S. job openings at the end of April, more than the 6.3 million individuals who were counted as unemployed at the time. Unemployed people are classified as those who don't have jobs but have recently searched for one.

The largest number of job openings are in business services (1.2 million), which includes accountants, software developers and clerical workers. Health care jobs followed closely behind with over 1 million unfilled jobs. Jobs abound in some of the lowest-paying fields as well—there were 844,000 accommodation and food service jobs open in April and 735,000 unfilled retail positions.

(The Wall Street Journal)

The Streak Continues

The labor market is undergoing its longest streak of job growth on record—92 consecutive months. Through the first five months of 2018, employers have added an average of 207,000 workers to their payrolls each month, outpacing 2017's average monthly growth of 182,000 and running counter to the general expectation for hiring to slow down as the labor market tightens.

Unemployment ticked down in May to 3.8 percent, the lowest since April 2000, according to the latest employment report from the BLS.

(SHRM Online)

Pay People More

Employers will have to get creative in sourcing talent with the labor market at full employment. That could mean paying new hires more. In addition to increasing compensation offers, employers may need to broaden their search parameters, commit to train imperfect new hires and invest in automation to do more with the same number or fewer workers.

(SHRM Online)

Consider Different Talent Pools

Recruiting at full employment also could mean a greater focus on tapping new sources of talent, such as military veterans, older candidates and the disabled, as well as partnering with community organizations to offer job seekers with criminal histories a second chance.

(SHRM Online)

Not All Good News

Even with the U.S. at full employment, there are significant numbers of involuntary part-time workers and discouraged job seekers, data show.

(SHRM Online)


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Search Jobs


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect

HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.