Where are all the workers?

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As of January 2018, roughly 6.3 million job positions in the U.S. remained open but unfilled—a record high.

American companies have been creating about 150,000-200,000 net new jobs per month in recent years, keeping pace with labor force growth.  But, according to the Manpower Group, roughly 40 percent of employers report difficulty filling jobs due to insufficient talent. And it’s not just tech or IT jobs—the jobs gap is impacting the skilled trades most of all.  In addition, the recently passed fiscal stimulus measures could incentivize companies to seek hiring additional workers, thereby exacerbating the supply/demand imbalance. Where will those workers come from?

While the labor force participation rate for prime-age workers (those between the ages of 25 and 54) is currently rising, it’s still below levels of the last 20 years. The reasons behind this labor shortage phenomenon are three-fold: a decline in women returning to work after childbirth in part due to the high cost of childcare; employers increasingly requiring degrees for positions that in the past did not require degrees; and a geographical mismatch between where available jobs exist and where potential labor lives.

JLL’s Chief Economist, Ryan Severino, says the solution lies in improved education—especially for technical and vocational jobs; increased programs that make it easier for new mothers to return to the workforce and in offsetting the costs of living in high-cost cities to attract the talent.

How does a labor shortage impact real estate? Find out more on the subject by reading JLL’s research report: “Where are all the Workers?” And, on the subject of childcare, check out “How on-site childcare can give companies a winning edge.”