US economy seems to be having a slow recovery. Over the last seven years, the number of job openings have increased and now it is at its peak. The labor market is hopeful that the opportunities lost due to the recession could be rediscovered.
According to data from the Labor Department’s survey on job openings and job labor turnover, the rate of job openings was 2.9% in March and it reached to 3.1% in April. Total number of job opening was 4.5 million in the month of April. The percentage was worst during the recession.
From 2010, the economy started to get in shape. The rate of layoffs began to decline from the 2nd half of 2009 and by mid 2010, it has managed to recover itself to the level of the pre-recession period.
But although the rate of layoffs have declined, the pace of hiring wasn’t improving. This was chiefly because the employment generating sectors such as heavy industry and real estate were badly hit during the recession. Unemployment continuing for a long term could cause difficulty in getting skilled labors.
Before the recession, Americans used to switch jobs almost at the drop of the hat. This is a sign of a healthy economy as in a strong economy, hiring and voluntary job separation are bound to soar. Thus with increased rate of employment, US may get back on track soon.
But not everything is rosy about the job market. A leading economist of PNC Financial Services called Stuart Hoffman said, “The labor market recovery has been disappointing…even with the new peak, there is still a great deal of slack.”
He pointed out that approximately 1.49 trillion construction jobs are missing. Number of industry workers have shrunk to 1.64 million. Recession apart, introduction of new technologies is also a reason behind job cut.
The economy therefore is improving but the improvement has failed to keep pace with the expansion of US population. Another finding was the contribution of low-paying industries in taking the recovery forward. The median household income was found $52959 which is $3304 less than the pre-recession period.
To explain this phenomenon, John Silvia of Wells Fargo said, “We’ve got a different labor market with a stronger emphasis on part-time jobs…the traditional labor market is no longer relevant.”
So even though the job market in US is better than the post-recession period, until we see growth in the manufacturing sector and full-time job creation with high retention rate, we can’t say the economy has completely recovered.