We hear every day from our member companies—of every size and industry, across nearly every state—they’re facing unprecedented challenges trying to find enough workers to fill open jobs. Right now, the latest data shows that we have 9.5 million job openings in the U.S., but only 6.5 million unemployed workers.
We have a lot of jobs, but not enough workers to fill them. If every unemployed person in the country found a job, we would still have over 2 million open jobs.
The U.S. Chamber is capturing the trends on job openings, labor force participation, quit rates, and more, for a quick understanding of the state of the workforce in our America Works Data Center. Read on for an analysis of the state of the workforce on the national level.
Why are we in a worker shortage?
At the height of the pandemic, more than 120,000 businesses temporarily closed, and more than 30 million U.S. workers were unemployed. Since then, job openings have steadily increased, while unemployment has slowly declined.
In 2022, employers ended up adding an unprecedented 4.5 million jobs. A strong jobs market is good news, but many of those job openings are going unfilled because the U.S. does not have enough workers to fill them. Even though we have more Americans participating in the workforce today than before the pandemic, the overall share of the population participating in the labor force has dropped. If our labor force participation rate today was the same as it was in February of 2020, we would have 2.2 million more Americans in our workforce to help fill those open jobs.
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