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On 5 November, 11.2 million U.S. jobs stood vacant, 50 percent more than the 7.4 million unemployed American workers, according to employment website Indeed.
Three percent of the entire labor force—about 4.4 million workers—quit their jobs in September, a record number.
More than 10 million jobs have remained open since June, the U.S. labor department reported.
The record number of open jobs before the COVID era was 7.4 million, notched in November 2019, the labor department noted.
The four-week moving average of new weekly claims for unemployment benefits was 278,000 for the week ending 6 November, the lowest yet since the COVID virus took hold in March 2020.
The numbers tell a story of a newly empowered labor force, quitting low-paying jobs and finding ones paying better, striving for better compensation from their current employers, or reconsidering their career paths.
In response, employers are revising their approaches to recruiting, training, and keeping workers.
NTT Data, an international tech firm with offices across the U.S., has launched a campus-to-careers program to recruit promising students before they leave college.
The company also hires applicants without degrees who have completed some training in software development or data science and then trains them in skills the company needs.
In addition, NTT has made working arrangements more flexible and reviews pay and benefits regularly. “We couldn’t keep employees very long if we weren’t attentive to their personal lives and professional aspirations,” Andrew Corbett, who heads NTT’s U.S. innovation center, told The Wall Street Journal.
For lower-skilled jobs, in the past employers normally could count on unemployed people to knock on their doors. Now they try to lure workers away from their current jobs by offering higher pay and better working conditions.
“The vast majority of the quitting we’ve seen in 2021 has been job switching,” Indeed economist Nick Bunker told the WSJ.
“Industries that usually hire people out of work may have shifted their approach towards poaching,” he said.
In February 2020, under 2 percent of open jobs not needing degrees mentioned starting bonuses; now more than twice as many do, Indeed’s postings show, the WSJ said.
TREND FORECAST: The COVID War sharpened the labor market’s divide. One of our top trends will be unionization. It’s a supply and demand issue. The less supply of workers, the more powerful the trend toward unionization.
After the intense rounds of lockdowns ended, millions of low-skilled workers could find jobs in restaurants, retail stores, hotels, and other low-wage industries. However, the COVID War destroying hundreds of thousands of those small businesses that could pay decent wages to people with few marketable abilities is one aspect for them not going back to work. But on a much larger scale, this segment of workers, after spending time at home doing nothing and thinking about their lives and livelihoods—plus getting government money to stay home—have decided they don’t want to work in those jobs any longer.
A large number of jobs going unfilled are those in manufacturing and other fields where technical knowledge and skills are required.
Now companies are taking more aggressive steps to end the chronic mismatch between available jobs and workers who lack the skills to fill them.
Apprenticeships for high-school students, special training for career switchers, and companies helping to design high-school and community college curriculums will grow as the U.S. economy evolves to meet 21st-century workforce needs.

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