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Multiple Mismatches Prevent the Unemployed from Finding Jobs

Tracy Davenport Tracy Davenport
9th August 2021
Multiple Mismatches Prevent the Unemployed from Finding Jobs
Skills, geography, and expectations play a factor (Getty Images).

The Claim

No able-bodied worker should be unemployed.

Emerging story

Writer and economist Stephen Moore posted on his social media that because there are so many job openings in the United States, no able-bodied worker should be collecting unemployment benefits. The post was liked more than 13,000 times. 

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar discovered that on August 6, 2021, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) released the latest U.S. job information. The number of unemployed persons in the U.S. is 8.7 million and the latest unemployment rate is 5.4%. Job openings are about 9.2 million.  

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While it does appear that there are enough job openings for every unemployed person, the reality is much more complicated. It’s something that economists refer to as a mismatch. According to Business Insider, there are at least three mismatches at play preventing all of the unemployed from filling the job openings: skills mismatch, geographic mismatch, and expectations mismatch. 

Skills mismatch is a discrepancy between the skills that are sought by employers and the skills that are possessed by individuals according to the International Labour Organization. According to the BLS, job gains are in leisure and hospitality, local government education, and professional and business services. For some unemployed workers, these jobs may not fit their skill set or compensation requirements. The average hourly rate for non-farm employment is $30.54. 

Geographically, there are many jobs open where potential employees are not. During the pandemic, approximately 3% of people moved permanently, many of them out of urban areas and into more suburban areas. 

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In terms of job expectations, some believe that employees have different expectations now versus prior to the pandemic about workplace conditions. For example, many people have found they like working from home. According to the Wall Street Journal, 55% of workers are now looking for remote work. 

There is also the fear of either catching or bringing home a potentially deadly virus from the workplace. According to the BLS, 1.6 million people were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic. 

Child care issues are also contributing to the gap between job openings and employee availability. Parents need schools to fully reopen including after school activities in order to take the jobs they had before the pandemic according to the Washington Post

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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