A new analysis from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) of the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that there was a decline in April for job openings to a total of 3.8 million, while the number of unemployed workers seeking jobs was around 11.7 million. April's level of job openings is more than 16% below where it was in the months before the recession began.
In every sector included in the study, the number of unemployed workers was not only higher, but significantly higher than the number of available jobs. Despite common claims that workers lack the skills to fill available jobs, the data in this study clearly shows that the main problem the U.S. economy faces is that there is a lack of jobs.
According to Heidi Shierholz of EPI:
In particular, there have recently been stories (for example, here) of worker shortages in construction. While there may be some construction firms in some places that cannot find the workers they need, the data show that this is in no way a prevalent phenomenon—unemployed construction workers outnumber job openings in construction by nearly 12-to-1. In construction, as well as in every major industry, it is work that our labor market lacks, not the right workers.