Here's your latest Chart of the Day, courtesy of my two favorite online data sources, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, (specifically the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary, or JOLTS report), and the FRED data analysis and visualization tool.
First, the chart, then some FREE commentary from your humble scribe:
1. First, the actual numbers - there were 5.028 million job openings in the US on the last business day of December 2014, the highest number since December 2001.
2. The chart shows a pretty much straight up and to the right climb in job openings since early 2009, meaning talk of the recession and the labor market disruptions it caused are really seeming far, far behind us
3. This increase in openings is driving organizations like Walmart to raise wages for many of its workers - for a wide range of industries, and geographies, (including previously 'low worker power' ones like retail), the balance of that power is shifting.
4. Average weekly earnings for Production and Non-farm employees are climbing as well, not as fast as jop openings, but certainly on the same trajectory.
So what does this mean for you, Mr. or Ms. HR pro?
Probably nothing new, or at least nothing you have not been hearing about and likely experiencing in the last 18 months or so.
Lots more noise in the system to get your company and your opportunities noticed in a much more crowded market of available jobs.
Many fewer un- and under-employed individuals around that might not always been qualified for your openings, but at least were a source of steady candidate flow. At the depths of the recession, there were about 7 unemployed workers for every job opening. Today that ratio is less than 2/1.
You, having a harder time coming up with explanations/excuses to your leadership and hiring managers who (traditionally) are much slower to accept these changes in the labor market and the ensuing power shifts. I recommend forwarding to them the Walmart story above, with a subject line that says 'See, even Walmart is having a hard time finding and keeping people'.
Long story short, we entering year 6 of an extended recovery/tightening of the labor market. Talent is in shorter supply, opportunities are everywhere, the Dow and the S&P 500 are at record highs, and the people you need to find, attract, and retain are well, harder to find, attract, and retain.
Have fun, it's a jungle out there.