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Archive for Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Job openings fall for second straight month

February 9, 2011

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— Employers posted fewer job openings in December, the second straight month of declines. That’s a sign hiring is still weak even as the economy is gaining strength.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs that month, a drop of almost 140,000 from November. That’s the lowest total since September.

Openings have risen by more than 700,000 since they bottomed out in July 2009, one month after the recession ended. That’s an increase of 31 percent.

But they are still far below the 4.4 million available jobs that were advertised in December 2007, when the recession began.

The figures follow a mixed jobs report released last week, which showed the unemployment rate fell sharply to 9 percent in January from 9.4 percent the previous month. But it also found that employers added a net total of only 36,000 jobs, far below what’s needed to consistently reduce unemployment.

There are far more unemployed people than there are job openings. Nearly 14.5 million people were out of work in December. As a result, on average there were 4.7 people competing for each available job. That’s below the ratio of 6.3, reached in November 2009, the highest since the department began tracking job openings in 2000.

But in a healthy economy, the ratio would fall to roughly 2, economists say.

The department’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, counts number of jobs advertised on the last business day of the month. The figures are for December, but economists say the report provides an indication of future hiring patterns because it can take several months to fill many jobs.

Job openings dropped sharply in professional and business services, a category that includes temporary help agencies. They also fell in construction, manufacturing, and in education and health services.

Job openings rose in trade, transportation and utilities, and in retail.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 years, 10 months ago

We Need a (Green) Jobs Program Clean-energy investment would promote job growth for a wide swath of the U.S. workforce.

By Jeannette Wicks-Lim

Fourteen months of an unemployment rate at or near 10% clearly calls for the federal government to take a lead role in job creation. The White House should push its clean-energy agenda as a jobs program but steer clear of all the hype about “green-collar” jobs. Green-collar jobs are widely perceived as job opportunities accessible only to an elite segment of the U.S. workforce—those with advanced degrees, such as environmental engineers, lab technicians, and research scientists. Such jobs are inaccessible to the 52% of unemployed workers with no college experience. The truth is, however, that clean-energy investments could serve as a powerful engine for job growth for a wide swath of the U.S. workforce.

My colleagues at the Political Economy Research Institute and I examined a clean-energy program that includes making buildings more energy efficient, expanding and improving mass transit, updating the national electric grid, and developing each of three types of renewable energy sources: wind, solar, and biomass fuels. Here’s what we found.

First, clean-energy activities produce more jobs, dollar for dollar, than fossil fuel-related activities. This is because clean-energy activities tend to be more labor intensive (i.e., more investment dollars go to hiring workers than buying machines), have a higher domestic content (i.e., more dollars are spent on goods and services produced within the United States) and have lower average wages than fossil fuel-related activities.

The figures in the table below show how a $1 million investment in clean-energy activities would create more than three times the number of jobs that would be created by investing the same amount in fossil fuels. (See Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Saving Energy Creates Jobs, Dollars & Sense, May/June 2009.) Chart: Job Creation: Clean Energy vs. Fossil Fuels http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0910wicks-lim.html

Second, many clean energy sector jobs would be accessible to workers with no college experience.

More: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0910wicks-lim.html

Flap Doodle 3 years, 10 months ago

Banning the use of internal combustion lawn care machines would create new jobs for people to use manual reel mowers. BTW, didn't Spain find out the the whole green jobs flim-flam was a drain on their economy?

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