Even worse than expected, today’s jobs report from the Department of Labor was dismal, with the U.S. economy shedding 240,000 jobs in October. This was the 10th straight monthly decline, and the nation’s unemployment rate now stands at 6.5%, a 14 year high. So far this year, 1.2 million jobs have been lost, with more than half of those losses occuring in the past 3 months.
What I am having trouble reconciling, however, is the data from LinkUp.com which shows dramatic increases in the number of job openings from over 9,700 company web sites that post jobs. While certainly not representative of the entire U.S. economy, LinkUp aggregates job listings from enough companies around the country, large and small, to provide some indication of what is going on in the broader economy, and yet there is a complete disconnect. As I pointed out yesterday, the total number of jobs for the almost 10,000 employers rose from 1 million to 1.3 million in October, with gains in virtually every state. Just as surprising, the job openings by vertical showed gains in almost every industry except Banking & Financial, Real Estate, and Restaurant & Food Service.
Again, these are real jobs from companies that are posting job openings on their own corporate web site. They are current, available, and often unadvertised anywhere else in print or online. But they are job openings, while the jobs numbers are actual jobs lost. And perhaps that is what explains the apparent discrepancy. Thousands of companies are laying people off in areas where they need to cut back given the current business climate, while some portion of those same companies, and/or thousands of different companies, have job openings in other areas of their business or are trying to grow their businesses given their own particular circumstances. At a minimum, the 1.3 million job openings found on LinkUp.com in October might provide some glimmer of hope that the unemployment picture may not be as gloomy over the long-term as some economists are predicting. We’ll see.