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One reason more people aren't working: the pay is too low

Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that one of the odder trends in American business is continuing — job openings are growing much faster than hires.

Here's a chart showing the rapid rise in job openings and the much more modest rise in hires:

People sometimes see this as a sign of "structural problems" in the economy. But pair it with the continued weakness in wage growth and it looks to me more like stinginess. Business would like to add staff to their teams, but don't want to offer the higher pay that would be needed to attract candidates they want to hire.

In crystal ball mode, I'd say this is a sign that wages are likely to rise soon. But to be honest, that's what I thought a few months ago. So instead I'll say this is a sign that wages should rise soon. If you want to fill those vacancies, offer better pay. It's not brain surgery.

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