There Are Fewer and Fewer People to Fill All the Job Openings

Last month the number of job openings was greater than the number of unemployed for the first time since 2001. But since we’ve been talking about the declining employment-population ratio lately, I thought it might be interesting to see the number of job openings compared to all nonworking people aged 25-54. Here it is:

Remember that “unemployed” counts only people looking for a job. “Nonworking” is everyone who doesn’t have a job, whether they want one or not. This is the true pool that employers can call on, since lots of people will decide to re-enter the job market if wages get high enough.

Either way, this number is at a record low since records began in 2001. Of course, if records went back a few years earlier, the dotcom boom would have had even lower numbers. That’s the last time that wages truly increased significantly, and it attracted plenty of people back into the labor market.