Job Openings at Record High, Yet Millions Giving Up

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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.”

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