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Job openings in Minn.: Not enough of the right stuff

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Some seemingly positive news has been released recently on the job front in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota extension of Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Minnesota now has the largest amount of job vacancies since 2007.

Job vacancies have risen 32% in the second quarter of this year compared to second quarter figures from last year. The figures released also show that there are now 3.8 unemployed people per open position, as compared to 4.8 unemployed people from the figures released in 2010.

There is positive movement in the employment numbers, but it might be best to step back and look at the numbers from a fuller perspective.

Job vacancies don’t mean employment

The economy is still turbulent and this is causing a majority of job creating businesses-small to medium sized businesses-to assess the situation. Weighing the risks of hiring employees, adding salary and benefit costs-versus spreading the workload out amongst those already employed to save money and drive profits. Many businesses have been choosing to wait out the economy by spreading out the workload, as well as hire temporary and part time workers in order to sidestep the cost and risk of hiring in this economic atmosphere. This fact is reflected largely in the type of open positions currently being added in Minnesota.

The reality of the job openings

Full time employment only accounts for 39% of the open positions that have been added compared to the figures from last year. This means that businesses are following the tactic discussed above. Hiring to part time- accounting for 38% of the open jobs-and temporary positions-accounting for 23% of the open jobs-to fill open spots to mitigate possible losses or another downturn in the economy. More information from the DEED’s analysis can be found here. This means that a great majority of unemployed may have to settle for jobs that offer fewer hours then they prefer. This is often referred to as underemployment.

Though the number of open jobs is highest it has been since 2007, and we are seeing a jump in openings compared to this time last year, the numbers don’t show us the type of forward momentum Minnesota needs to bring itself to pre-recession employment figures. There is marked improvement in employment seen in these numbers as employers are seeing less possibility of adverse effects of adding to their payroll.




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