Businesses Struggle to Fill Open Positions as US Workers Quit Their Jobs in Record Numbers

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According to the latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor, a large number of US workers have been quitting their jobs recently. In May, US workers said goodbye to their jobs in record numbers. The statistics showed that 2.4 percent of employees left their companies that month, a higher number than the previous high reached in April 2001.

Some analysts see this as a positive indication of how strong the job market is these days. After all, employees usually only quit their jobs for greener pastures. People who switch employment often receive higher pay and greater benefits than those that stay put.

Government data also revealed that there were fewer jobs advertised in May than in April. The numbers showed that there were 6.84 million jobs in April and only 6.64 million the following month. The 3 percent drop was the highest in the almost twenty years that records have been saved.

However, the number of open positions were higher than that of the unemployed for the second time in as many years. A look at the available jobs in May, factored in with the number of unemployed workers, shows that there are 0.91 out-of-work individuals for every available job.

The figures mirror a solid job market pushed by employers who are moving to expand their employee base. The recent job report also indicated that the hiring rate was good and that unemployment numbers remained at a low 4 percent.

The current shortage in the labor pool and the competition for jobs should prompt businesses to increase salaries in order to secure workers. However, wage hikes remain at modest levels. Hourly earnings increased to 2.7 percent in June but aren't commensurate with the 4 percent yearly gains that are typical in a healthy economy.

The large discrepancy between unfilled job positions and unemployed workers is forcing companies to become more flexible with their hiring. Where businesses used to employ people with specific skills, now they're more open to choosing applicants who could thrive in the company's culture and are willing to learn required skills.

However, companies are still cautious and are embracing change much slower than they did in the 1990s, the last time the country enjoyed a solid job market. Staffing experts say that the hiring process has become more thorough in the last twenty years, as background checks intensified and more screening steps were introduced. This is also why it's taking longer to fill many open positions.

[Featured image via Pexels.com]
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