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Five Questions About Today’s Job Market

Wall Street Journal (09/03/12) David Wessel

Of the 6.1 million workers who lost jobs they had held for at least three years between 2009 and 2011, 45% remained unemployed in January 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Around 50% of those who found full-time positions had to accept lower wages, and for 33% of these workers, wages were at least 20% less than they earned previously. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are 3.4 jobless workers for every job opening, which is less than the more than six jobless for every opening reported in mid-2009, when the economy bottomed out, but more than the two unemployed workers per job opening at the start of the recession in December 2007. New York Federal Reserve economists believe a skills mismatch is responsible for no more than one-third of the rise in unemployment, indicating that stronger economic growth would resolve most of the unemployment plaguing the country right now.