The formerly unimportant job openings report has taken on a new significance since U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen has included this metric in a list of labor market reports that she is watching closely. And this relatively new report is now sending a message that we really haven’t seen before. Job growth isn’t much better than it has been in the past three or four years, while the number of openings per person employed is now at its best level since 2001 and way above year-ago levels.
The chart illustrates how the growth in job openings is outpacing the growth in hires. This means that there are increasingly less workers matched with the jobs that are being posted, and it may soon force employers to increase wages in order to fulfill those unmatched job openings.