Number of Open Jobs Jumps by 1 Million—America's Worker Shortage Crisis is Worsening, Urgent Need for National Workforce Solutions

job openings unemployment chart
Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 4:15pm

Washington, D.C. — New federal data released today illustrate the increasingly urgent need to address the country’s ever-worsening workforce crisis. 

"America’s great economic resurgence is being held back by an unprecedented workforce shortage—and it’s getting worse,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are seeing an increasing number of businesses turning down work and only partially reopening because they can’t find enough workers. It is time for the 25 remaining governors to end the $300 weekly unemployment supplement, for governors to utilize COVID relief money for rapid job training programs to help parents returning to work access childcare. And we renew our call for Congress to double the levels of legal employment immigration and visas.”

According to new data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • There were more than 9.3 million job openings available at the end of April and 9.8 million unemployed Americans.
  • That represents a single-month increase of 1 million openings, and more than 2.5 million job openings have been added in 2021. 
  • The industries with the greatest increase in job openings in April were food services (added 349,000 openings), other services (added 115,000 openings), and durable goods manufacturing (added 78,000 openings).

The gap between the number of job openings and number of unemployed workers is narrowing. Today there are only 562,000 more unemployed workers than open jobs.

Additionally, the number of workers quitting their jobs reached an all-time high of 2.7%, while layoffs and discharges reached an all-time low of 1%, another indication of the tightness of the labor market.

To address this national economic emergency, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation last week launched America Works, a nationwide initiative mobilizing industry and government to swiftly address America’s worker shortage crisis.

Discover workforce and job training solutions, find additional research and workforce data analysis, and explore the America Works federal and state policy agenda at uschamber.com/work.