The latest snapshot of the U.S. labor market, as seen in the October employment report, underscores the current jobs crisis in America. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% from 7.8% in the prior month, and 171,000 payrolls were added to the workforce. While these are solid numbers compared to the depths of the last recession, the overall improvement is not nearly enough to put a dent in the real unemployment number that includes millions of uncounted Americans who have given up the search for a job.
While the headlines might make you think there aren't any jobs to be had, quite the opposite is true. According to government data there are more than 3.6 million unfilled jobs across the country right now. This is the highest level of job vacancies in nearly four years, and if just half of those jobs were filled, the unemployment rate would fall to 6.5%.
So what's the problem, why are 12 million job-seeking Americans out of work?
In the attached video, the first of a three-part series called Who's Hiring?, Breakout examines the current state of job creation and why so many positions are going unfilled. We'll also assess the obstacles that are keeping would-be workers and growing employers apart, as well as visit some unique businesses which are adding headcount today, regardless of what the latest economic reports are saying.
We started with Brent Rasmussen, president of North American operations for CareerBuilder.com, who says the problem is a "training gap. We need to be able to provide colleges, junior colleges, community colleges around the country data that tells them these are the jobs, these are the skills that are going to be relevant in five years."
See Related: The Industries Behind Friday's Jobs Numbers
This lack of training is starting to show in the numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that no less than 4 of the 10 broad industries it tracks are not only hiring right now, but actually struggling to do so. Rasmussen ticks off several of those industries looking for skilled workers:
Drilling, oil and gas wells, there's 20,000 jobs that have been added in that area since 2010...We've seen a tremendous amount of growth in internet-based jobs...Manufacturing in the U.S. is up slightly...We've had growth of over 100,000 jobs in health care over 2010, which tells me we need more talent in that marketplace to serve the aging population.
Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers reiterated concerns about finding skilled workers to fill positions in his industry, which is a critical component of the global economy. "Today manufacturing is technology-driven, it's sleek, it's cool and it really is providing the innovations for the future of our country and the world," he says.
It's all part of Breakout's in depth analysis of the events and trends that not only shape the markets, but impact our lives. Be sure to check out all three parts of Who's Hiring?. It may just change the way you look at unemployment.
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