September 16, 2021

One Chart Shows the Unprecedented Challenge for Recruiters

Andrew Flowers
Labor Economist
September 16, 2021

Share this Blog Post

It’s a challenging time for recruiters. There is a fundamental mismatch between the supply of and demand for workers, perhaps without precedent in recent decades. And one chart clearly shows that we’re in uncharted territory:

In July, total job openings (salmon line) hit an all-time high of 10.9 million. And in that same month the ranks of the unemployed (blue line) fell to 8.7 million. This “gap” of about 2.2 million more job openings than unemployed job seekers is by far the largest in the 20-year history of this series. 

Notably, for most of the last 15 years, the number of unemployed persons has outnumbered job postings. Not so in this economy. In the few years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the salmon line creeped slightly above the blue line. But never have they diverged so drastically as they have in the last few months. It’s truly an unprecedented challenge for recruiters. 

That said, this chart only goes through July. And we know that in August payroll employment growth slowed considerably. Clearly, the Delta impact on hiring is real. But even in August the ranks of the unemployed declined, to 8.3 million. We won’t get updated August data on job openings until October. Likely this fundamental mismatch isn’t going to resolve soon.

To learn more about how your business can navigate this extraordinary  environment, tune into an Appcast webinar I’ll be giving on Thursday, September 23 at 2:00pm ET. Register for the event here.

Enjoy this article?

Sign up to stay in the know

Share this Blog Post

Related Stories