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Q: What's the disconnect between high number of unemployed and high number of job openings?

  • A: It's a really unusual situation to have such a high ratio of vacancies to unemployed. There are a number of things at work there. This is now not so much about people going back to their old jobs, it's about finding a new job, and that's a time intensive, labor intensive process. There may be a bit of a speed limit on that. It's not like you can have millions of people at the beginning of the recovery going back in a single month because they're going back to their old job.
  • There are people who are reluctant to go back to work because they still feel exposed to Covid. These could be jobs where there's a lot of interaction with the public. Also schools are not fully open, and parents are at home. And there's also very generous unemployment benefits which are rolling off, they'll be fully rolled off in a couple of months.
  • All of those factors should wane, because of that we should see strong job creation moving forward. We hear from businesses all over the country it's very hard to hire people. That may be because people are shopping carefully for their next job. I think the bottom line on this is people want to work. If you look at where labor force participation can get, people will go back to work, unless they retire.
  • Generally speaking, Americans want to work and they'll find their way into the jobs they want. It may take some time.