The number of days a job vacancy sits unfulfilled has gone up since the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. It currently takes an average of 23 business days for an employer to fill a job opening, compared to 15 days in 2009, according to an analysis of Labor Department data from economists at the University of Chicago and University of Maryland that was cited by The New York Times.
There are a variety of ways to explain why the unemployment rate sits at 7.9 percent, but jobs are staying unfilled. Many companies argue that they would love to hire more workers, but the applicants they’ve seen don’t have the skills required for their openings. Tech companies like Microsoft say the problem of an unskilled U.S. workforce is so severe that the U.S. should allow more highly-skilled immigrants into the country to fill openings in science and technology.
Still, U.S. companies could probably do more to ensure they get the types of workers they need. A July survey from the ManPower Group cited by Bloomberg found that American businesses were way less likely to train workers to fill job openings than their international counterparts.
And there’s another reason those job openings are going unfilled that companies probably aren’t highlighting. Corporate America is reaping record profits -- but instead of investing the cash in hiring more workers, they're sitting on it and squeezing more out of the employees they already have.