Across all sectors, America’s economy shows signs of growth, the likes of which we haven’t seen in years.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 5.9 million job openings that employers are seeking to fill. Despite an impressively low unemployment level of 4.1 percent, 6.7 million individuals still are unable to find work.
The culprit: a significant “skills gap” limiting the applicant pool for employers seeking qualified individuals to fill open jobs.
A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce highlights the reality facing employers and job seekers:
- More than two-thirds (67 percent) of employers indicate that they can’t find qualified candidates;
- 60 percent of employers have job vacancies that take three months or longer to fill;
- 89 percent of employers are not confident that college graduates will be prepared for the workforce in their industry;
- In manufacturing, approximately 60 percent of open skilled production positions remain unfilled;
- In science and technology, the number of job postings for data scientists in 2016 (14,653) was 14 times higher than just four years earlier (1,061 in 2012); and,
- In health care, there are more than 1 million skilled jobs that are unfilled.
With the economy picking up steam and millions of new well-paying jobs being created thanks to the recently-enacted federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, addressing this skills gap is increasingly urgent to ensure that every American seeking a job can find one.