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Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

There are around 10 million unemployed Americans and over 9 million open positions. But most people aren't urgently seeking out those jobs.

The big picture: For the first time in decades, workers have the power to be choosy.

By the numbers: Only about 10% of job seekers say they're actively and urgently looking for work, according to a new survey from the jobs site Indeed. Around 45% are passively looking for jobs, and another 30% plan to get a job in the near future but aren't looking at all right now.

What's happening: Most of the open jobs are in low-wage areas like the service industry, which is bouncing back after the pandemic but struggling to find workers.

  • "These jobs are not very good," says Steven Fazzari, an economist at the Washington University in St. Louis. "They’re hard work, and they don’t pay very well."
  • For low-wage workers, pandemic-era expanded unemployment insurance has provided some temporary bargaining power. "They might be able to pay the rent or pay the utility bill without that job" and hold out for better pay or benefits, Fazzari says.

Workers without college degrees — who also tend to be in lower-wage jobs — cite several different reasons for delaying the job search, per Indeed's data.

  • Around 25% are afraid of COVID-19 and are waiting for vaccination rates to climb before getting back to work.
  • More than 20% say they have a financial cushion and around 12% say their unemployment insurance is the reason they're not rushing to get a job.
  • Childcare is also a major factor. 20% of lower-wage workers are staying home due to care responsibilities.

What to watch: This moment could be a turning point for American workers. Demand for labor is sky high, so lots of firms are offering higher wages or perks to attract talent.

But, but, but: While workers may have the edge right now, "I'm really skeptical that what we're seeing is the start of a new era of worker bargaining power," Indeed economist Nick Bunker says.

  • The wage hikes and benefits could start to disappear in the fall as many of the circumstances allowing or pushing lower-wage workers to delay the job hunt change, he says.
  • Many states have already ended pandemic unemployment insurance, and others will do so in the coming months. An analysis from the firm Jeffries reported by the Wall Street Journal shows that states that have ended UI have lower rates of unemployment than those that have not.
  • And schools are set to fully reopen, sending parents back to work.

Go deeper

Why hybrid work is the enemy of change

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Companies around the world are responding to the pandemic-induced rise of telework by transitioning to a hybrid of in-person and remote work. But that model is inherently flawed, experts say.

The big picture: Employers haven't been clear with their definitions of hybrid work — whether it means the workforce is hybrid or the workweek is hybrid — and that hasn't allowed workers to make the big changes to their lifestyles that flexible work should allow.

2 wildfires ravage Northern California homes as thousands evacuate

Firefighters monitoring the scene as flames from the Dixie Fire jump across highway 89 near Greenville, California, on Tuesday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Two massive California wildfires have triggered new mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses in the state's north overnight.

Details: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, razed houses and businesses as it ripped through the town of Greenville and surrounding areas in Plumas County Wednesday night. The rapidly spreading River Fire burned "multiple" homes as it tore through Placer and Nevada counties, KOVR notes.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Ryan Crouser competing on Thursday in the men's Olympic shot put final in Tokyo, which he won. Photo: Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images

🥇: Ryan Crouser breaks his own Olympic shot put record to win gold for U.S.

🏐: U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

🤼🏿‍♀️ "Making history": Mensah-Stock first Black woman to win Olympic wrestling gold

🛹: 2 teens and girl, 12, sweep board at women's park skateboarding

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage