Revised figures indicate the number of available positions remained flat in October despite initial good news.
Yesterday, the Department of Labor Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey downgraded the number of positions needing to be filled in October, indicating that the job market remained flat for the month.
The new numbers reflect an adjustment to account for a strike in the telecommunications industry. In actuality, there were 3.27 million jobs available at the end of October – down from the upwardly adjusted 3.38 million jobs available in September.
Many experts believe that the decrease in available positions is a reflection of widespread uncertainty in the business sector.
Reuters quotes Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets Corp. in New York: “Businesses are not ready to take on a lot of workers as demand is lackluster . . . Growth just isn’t strong enough.”
Reuters also reports that compared with the 13.9 million Americans who were unemployed in October, today’s figures indicate there were about 4 people vying for every opening, up from about 1.8 when the recession began in December 2007.
For job seekers, the key takeaway is that heavy competition is likely to characterize the job market throughout 2012. To stand out, job hunters will need to exercise diligence in resume preparation, job networking and other areas.