Since the U.S. recovery began in 2009, total employment has risen from 138 million to 155.6 million and the number of unemployed has shrunk to 6.6 million. Strong economic conditions have put millions of people back to work, and economists agree that the US is now at or close to full employment.
The low unemployment rate means there are fewer available workers for each job opening. That provides job hunters an advantage, along with more opportunity for Americans on the margins of the labor force, including those less educated, people with disabilities, and ex-offenders.
But, how does full employment impact the time it takes to hire workers? The LinkUp data team dug into our proprietary database of over 5 million job openings to see if job duration (i.e. how long a job stays on an employer’s website) has been impacted by the low unemployment rate.
Counterintuitively, in the last 2.5 years, we found employers have actually filled positions 14 days faster as the unemployment rate has continued to decline. One theory behind the decline is that companies looking to hire in a full employment economy have adjusted their recruitment strategies to cope. To find the best candidates, employers have learned they need to move quickly and efficiently, pay competitive salaries, increase flexibility, have well-defined roles, and pursue every avenue to find qualified individuals.
However, not every industry is enjoying a decrease in job duration. Companies in the manufacturing and utilities sectors have seen their job durations increase in the last year.
In the Manufacturing sector specifically, several pharmaceutical companies are driving up job duration. In the Utilities sector, the regional power companies appear to be struggling to fill their job openings.
We anticipate that companies will continue to get better at what it takes to recruit during full employment, and will continue to fill positions faster across most industries.