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How Easy Are Jobs To Find? It Depends On The Industry


Key Takeaways

  • Despite a recent slowdown, the job market still favors workers, with available jobs outnumbering the unemployed.
  • Labor shortages, as measured by the job-to-unemployed-worker ratio, vary considerably by industry.
  • Finance, education and health services, and professional business services have the ratios most favorable to workers.
  • In manufacturing and construction, unlike most industries, there were nearly as many unemployed workers as job openings.

With the number of job openings persistently outnumbering the number of unemployed workers, it’s still a pretty good time to be a job seeker—although that varies depending on what industry you’re in.

Employers are facing labor shortages stemming partly from a wave of early retirements during the pandemic. That means it’s relatively easy for job-seekers to find work these days compared to pre-COVID times, but just how easy depends on your line of work.

As of September, workers in finance, education and healthcare, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality had a lot more leverage than before the pandemic, data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. That wasn’t true in manufacturing and construction, where, unlike most industries, there were nearly as many unemployed workers as job openings.

The job market has cooled off in recent months amid higher interest rates that have made it harder for businesses to borrow money to hire and expand, and as companies brace for a possible recession. Still, the unemployment rate remains near a 50-year low, and workers have an upper hand—at least for now.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.