The number of unfilled jobs has hit multi-decade highs in recent months, and businesses across the country are struggling to find and hire workers. There were more than 11 million job openings nationwide at the end of May 2022, the most recent period available, just below the all-time high reported earlier this year, and 17% more than in May 2021.
Several causes explain this historical labor shortage. During the pandemic, early retirements have skyrocketed, parents of school-aged children have left the workforce in droves, and immigration has slowed dramatically, resulting in millions fewer workers than there are. would have had it otherwise. This is what it costs to retire comfortably in every state.
Today, the labor force participation rate – the share of Americans 16 and older working or looking for work – stands at 62.2%, a low not seen in the United States before the pandemic since the 1970s. The national labor shortage is straining American businesses, forcing some employers to cut hours and others to close altogether.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states with the most job openings. States are ranked by share of all jobs unfilled as of the end of May 2022, the most recent month of data available. Depending on the state, the share of unfilled jobs varies from 5.4% to 8.4%. Nationally, 6.9% of jobs are unfilled.
Despite the need for workers, a small percentage of the labor force remains unemployed, suggesting a mismatch – either between the skills sought by employers and the labor pool, or between the type of work or benefits job seekers want and what employers offer. The national unemployment rate was 3.6% in May 2022. Depending on the state, unemployment rates range from 1.9% to 5.7%. (Here’s a look at states where unemployment is at an all-time low.)
Click here to see the states with the most job openings.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.
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