June 6 (UPI) — For the first time in 20 years, there are more job openings in the United States than there are job seekers, the Department of Labor said.
The department said Tuesday job openings in April reached a record high of 6.7 million — an increase of 65,000 from March.
Openings increased the most in durable goods manufacturing (33,000) and information (26,000) — while jobs in finance and insurance decreased by a combined 84,000.
Hires were little changed in April at 5.6 million at a rate of 3.8 percent.
The total number of job seekers, meanwhile, fell to 6.35 million in April, a slight decrease from March. That figure fell to just over 6 million in May.
“For the FIRST time since record-keeping began, the U.S. has MORE job openings than unemployed workers” White House adviser Ivanka Trump said in a tweet Wednesday. “Wages are rising and people are being drawn back in to the workforce from the sidelines.”
A reason for the shortfall could be location and wages, as open jobs and seekers may not be in the same place. Available laborers may also not have the skills certain employers are looking for.
Hourly earnings have been slow to grow — rising just 2.7 percent in May, up one-tenth of a point from April.
“Given these trends, the sluggish wage growth rate is even more perplexing,” Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told USA Today. “If employers want to fill these 6.7 million job openings, they are either going to have to raise wages or find more clever and creative ways to recruit workers off the sidelines.”
In May, the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs and the unemployment rate matched its lowest level in a half-century.