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On the Economy

Unemployed people per job opening drops

The number of unemployed people available per open job used to be seven; now it's around four.

By Jared BernsteinGuest blogger / February 10, 2012

Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, this chart shows the number of unemployed persons per job opening over the past 11 years. Since peaking in 2009, the number has been dropping steadily.

Jared Bernstein/BLS/JOLT

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Here’s a picture out today from the BLS on the number of unemployed persons per job opening.  Used to be seven; now it’s around four.  If you think of the job search as musical chairs, there are a few more chairs out on the floor for when the music stops.* 

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Before joining the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as a senior fellow, Jared was chief economist to Vice President Joseph Biden and executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class. He is a contributor to MSNBC and CNBC and has written numerous books, including 'Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed?'

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But still not enough–as you can see, it was one-for-one back in late 2000–now there was a tight labor market…

*It was my old friend and former EPI colleague Jeff Wenger whom I first heard make this analogy with these data…Jeff, you out there somewhere?

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