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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Many People are Looking for Jobs? Fall 2011

How Many Job Hunters Are Out There Now?  How Many Job Openings?

It's hard to come up with a specific number of the people LOOKING for jobs in the United States in a given month.  We have a good idea how many are unemployed but many people who are employed are also looking for work in any given month. 

 This article was written in October 2011.  The employment picture is much improved this year.  September 2012 updates and links can be found HERE.

However, we can count some of the groups looking for work and see if we can come up with a decent estimate. 
  • First, all of the "officially" unemployed must be actively looking for work to be considered "officially unemployed".  That's 13,967,000 so far.
  • Second, we have about 8,826,000 people who are working part-time but who want full-time work.  We have no way of knowing how many of those people are actively pursuing full-time work, however.
  • We also have 6,493,000 people who say they "want to work" but have not actively looked for work in the past month.  Would you count people who "want to work" but aren't looking for a variety of reasons as "looking for work"?  I won't, but we should remember that this group of people exists.
  • We have no way of knowing how many people who are employed now are unhappy with their jobs and are actively trying to find work elsewhere. I did find this story at the CNN website from late last year entitled New Year's Resolution:  I Quit!   84% --- That's right, 84%! --- of the people questioned in the survey cited wanted to leave their jobs!  (84% of the 139,627,000 people now working would amount to about 117,000,000 people).  Here's a quote from the original article at the site:  
  • "Eighty-four percent of the employees polled say they plan to look for new jobs in 2011, up from 60% reported in Right Management’s survey a year ago. Only 5% now say they intend to remain in their current position."

So....  How many people might be looking for jobs?  Almost everybody in the work force!.. except for those who are too discouraged to look, even though they want and need jobs.  Anywhere between 14,000,000 up to 131,000,000 people (the 117,000,000 mentioned above and the 14,000,000 who are unemployed and actively looking) may be looking for work right now.  And in July the Labor Department reported 3,200,000 job openings.        

No wonder so many people are miserable and struggling:  131,000,000 people who are either unemployed-- or employed and unhappy and considering changing jobs-- and that doesn't count the 6,000,000 who have given up looking.  

Those numbers are pretty glum.

Updated with October 2011 numbers:
  • Officially unemployed in October:   13,897,000.
  • Part-time workers who want full-time work:  8,896,000.
  • People unhappy with their jobs who are looking for a different job (as of December 2010):  About 117,500,000.
Therefore, the total number of people looking for work right now is anywhere between 14,000,000 and 138,000,000.    

This article was written in October 2011.  The employment picture is much improved this year.  September 2012 updates and links can be found HERE.

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