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The number of job openings is rising. So why aren’t there more jobs being created?

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Contrary to the standard line in Washington, there are some jobs out there--and the number is growing. There were more job openings in July than any time over the last two years. But employers aren’t hiring as quickly as you might expect, which may be part of the reason that job creation has lagged and unemployment rate remains stubbornly high.

New figures this week from Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm the uptick in job openings over the last two years. The number didn’t increase much over the summer, but it has grown sharply since July 2009, after it hit bottom.


Employers, however, haven’t been hiring as rapidly. The number of new hires has risen since July 2009, when they were also at a nadir. But the number of new hires has remained flat over the past year.


What’s responsible for this gap? Part of the reason may be that employers are having trouble finding enough skilled workers to fill the jobs in certain industry, as I reported earlier. That’s been the ongoing complaint from the manufacturing industry, which saw some of the biggest increases in job openings this summer. This skills gap has prompted both President Obama and Mitt Romney, among others, to make jobs training an integral piece of their agenda.

But even if employers increase their rate of hiring, unemployment world remain high if those employers are luring already-employed workers away from other jobs. The longer someone is unemployed, the harder it is for them to find work. And even if all the available openings were filled, the number of unemployed people is so high, that would only be the first step to solving the jobs crisis, as the Economic Policy Institute reminds us.

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