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As of March 2019, the number of job openings rose to 7.5 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, quit rates remained steady at 2.3 percent. Layoffs and discharges increased slightly to 1.1 percent.

Job openings increased in the following industries: transportation, warehousing, utilities, construction, and real estate. However, the number of job openings notably decreased in government.

Unique Challenges

The current job market poses unique challenges for hiring managers and candidates alike. Despite the steady increase in available openings, there are currently more jobs than there are qualified candidates to fill them.

Concurrently, there is also a large pool of workers who cannot find the right job to fit their specific set of skills. The gap is creating a highly competitive and crowded job market in particular sectors. Candidates are being forced to take placeholder jobs and relocate to find a job that fits their skills.

Take CNBC’s interview with Yolanda Summers, for example. Yolanda is a 40-year-old Dallas resident who went back to college to get a finance degree but has struggled since then to get work in her field.

For people like Yolanda, headlines boasting about a booming job market do not resonate for her.

“I find it strange. I keep hearing stories and news reports about there being so many jobs, that employers are having such a difficult time finding skilled workers,” Summers said. “I know so many people who are having a different experience. I just can’t put the two together.”]

Market Shift

All signs point to the market changing. Glassdoor saw a notable drop-off in job postings in 2019. Whereas the first quarter typically sees a general increase in postings from 5-15%, the first quarter of 2019 was flat.

As a way to combat the current market skills gap, companies are turning their focus to retaining current employees and on reducing turn-over rates. Companies are beginning to invest in cross-training as well as sweetening already established policies like benefits packages, vacation time, and wages.

 

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