The Effect Of The Current US Job Market On The Working AmericanTweet
The US labor market is the most worker-friendly it has been in fifty years, but most Americans are saying that they have to face multiple obstacles on their job-seeking journey today.
Although official reports claim that there is a surplus of job opportunities and openings in the US labor market, job seekers are under the impression that there aren’t enough opportunities to go around.
The unemployment rate in the US reached a value of 3.5% last month, which is the same as the 50-year-low in 2020. The statistics say that there are 1.9 job openings for a single unemployed American. Even employers have begun to entice job seekers and workers with raised wages and flexible working environments to attract talent.
According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, a whopping 28% of the workers felt that the lack of job availability has been the biggest hurdle for them in their job search. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics survey claims they identified the presence of 424,000 workers not in the labor force in July 2022 that they have aptly named “discouraged workers”.
Based on this contradiction, we can safely assume that although there is a surplus of job opportunities at present, they are not the jobs desired by applicants. Also, employers may have certain expectations from their potential employees that the current pool of job seekers cannot fulfill.
4.2 million working Americans have left their jobs in search of better opportunities in June 2022 as found by the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey interviewed 25,000 respondents, out of which almost half have admitted to actively seeking out new work within the last year, to be searching for new jobs at present, or to be planning about launching their job search in the coming year.
Workers from urban regions scored higher numbers, suggesting a dynamic labor market in the urban environment. Also, a higher number of urban respondents have said that it could be easy for them to change careers. In the meantime, most urbanites from regions of the country such as the West, Midwest, South, and Northeast are more concerned about their job stability.
Almost a 1/3 of workers from the suburban and rural areas claimed that the limited number of job opportunities is an obstacle in their job hunt. Only a quarter of the urban workers seemed to feel the same way.
The geographic mismatch could be a major contributor to the lack of employment opportunities for all workers since only 33% of the unemployed workers stated to be willing to relocate to accept a new opportunity. There is an even higher rate of urbanites unwilling to move for a job. 68% of unemployed workers in search of a job are willing to work fully remotely.
Another major barrier that job seekers face is the skills mismatch. This is because of the differences between the expectations of the employers and the actual skills of the applicants. Around 26% of respondents to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey state the lack of relevant skills and experience or other qualifications such as credentials and education is one of the biggest reasons behind them not getting hired.
Further, about a quarter of workers who participated in the survey say that their lack of relevant skills has affected their performance. This shows that employers need to consider increasing their training and development budgets to hire applicants from the existing pool and reskill them to suit the requirements of the job.
Another factor that contributes to the contradiction between job availability and unemployment is the differences in pay and flexibility expectations. The driving force behind a majority of job seekers is the need for better pay per hour. Many job seekers also state that they are looking for flexibility in their working arrangements. Some seek work-from-home opportunities while others would like to have the option of bringing their child to work.