With the number of job openings now exceeding the amount of unemployed workers by 3.6 million, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is recommending that policymakers expand the labor force by addressing barriers to employment, rightsizing and targeting government benefits and doubling the cap on employment-based visas.
Overall, employment rose by 210,000 in November and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 4.2 percent, the lowest level since COVID-19 began. However, the economy is producing new jobs faster than it can fill them. The number of job openings rose to 11 million on the last business day of October, even as the historically high rate of workers quitting slowed to 2.8 percent, down from 3 percent in September, according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report.
The U.S. Chamber noted that employers of all sizes and in all industries are being challenged by the lack of available workers. “This enormous number of job openings is holding the economy back from reaching its potential and is threatening what should be a prolonged economic boom,” the Chamber said. “Congress and the Biden administration should focus on getting people off the sidelines and back to work instead of their unrelated Build Back Better bill which would likely exacerbate the worker shortage crisis."