Jun 6, 2018 - Economy

U.S. has more jobs than jobless

Job seekers wait in line to apply for jobs being offered at the Amazon fulfillment center in Romeoville, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

"American Job Openings Now Outnumber the Jobless," per The Wall Street Journal's Eric Morath (subscription): "U.S. job openings rose to 6.7 million at the end of April, compared with the 6.3 million Americans who were unemployed."

Why it matters: "The labor market is forcing employers to rethink their approach to hiring ... If they can’t find workers to meet the demand for their products, they can’t help the economy grow. They may instead opt to close the restaurant early or not run a third shift at the factory."

  • That's the "the first time since such record-keeping began in 2000" that "the number of available positions exceeded the number of job seekers," according to the Labor Department.
  • What it means for workers: "Firms may need to pay more to attract workers, and some already are."
  • What it means for businesses: That raises costs and would cut profit margins if higher prices can’t be passed on to customers. If prices are raised, that stokes stronger inflation, which already has been accelerating in recent months."

The backdrop: "The jobless rate ticked down ... in May to ... 3.8%, the lowest since April 2000 ... The last time the rate was lower was in 1969, when young men were being drafted into the Vietnam War."

  • But, but, but: "There are, however, still an elevated number of Americans who are stuck in part-time jobs and would prefer full-time work. And others are employed but not in the jobs they want."
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