Job Openings at Record High, Yet Millions Giving Up

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Job openings hit a record high in April, yet nearly half of the unemployed have given up looking for work. Find out what is behind the disconnect.

American job openings hit a record high of 5.78 million in April, according to Labor Department data published this week.

And yet, about half of all unemployed workers have given up searching for a new gig, according to a Harris Poll of unemployed Americans released in conjunction with job-placement service Express Employment Professionals.

It sounds like a head-scratching disconnect, but it may be explained by a simple phenomenon: the job skills gap.

CNN Money reports that while employers have open jobs begging to be filled, workers by and large lack the skills to perform those tasks.

In a report last month, CNN Money focused on people who work part-time jobs because they lack the skills to get better-paying full-time work.

Bernie Baumohl, chief global economist at research firm the Economic Outlook Group, told CNN Money:

“Many workers who are stuck now with multiple part-time jobs can’t keep up with high-tech skills that are in demand.”

All of this may discourage the unemployed from even applying for jobs, let alone landing them. The Harris Poll survey found that a startling 59 percent of workers who fail to find a job after two years simply give up.

As Express Employment Professionals CEO Bob Funk says in a press release:

“It’s frightening to see this many people who could work say they have given up.”

What is your take on this issue? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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