Frustration for unemployed despite job gains
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The job market remains a frustrating place for America's nine million unemployed -- perhaps more so as hiring has accelerated along with job postings.
The pace of job growth over the past three months was the fastest in 17 years. The gains spanned nearly every industry, and some employers have finally had to dangle higher pay to attract or retain top talent.
And yet millions of job seekers still can't find work. Some businesses remain slow to fill their openings, awaiting the ideal candidate. Many job seekers lack the skills employers require.
The plight of the unemployed also reflects an economic reality: Even in the best times, the number of job seekers is typically twice the number of job openings.
The January jobs report that the government issued last Friday pointed to another factor, too: As hiring strengthens, more people typically start looking for jobs. As the number of job seekers grows, so does competition for work.
The number of openings has reached nearly five million, the most since 2001. Yet that's barely more than half the number of people the government counts as unemployed.