A new Labor Department report says there were 287,000 U.S. jobs on hold last month, but according to a research study commissioned by Target, not a single one of those roles could be filled by anyone who wanted the job — no matter what the level of the unemployment rate.
Company researchers say that one of the main causes of job-related holdups is a mismatch between what people want to do with their time — things like filing taxes or managing a customer service call center — and what those jobs are being offered. They argue that this “gray market” of working-class Americans who want jobs that pay poorly and don’t have the desired skills has been a persistent issue of the labor market for more than a decade.
Amazon, for its part, found that offering decent pay and benefits (including a guaranteed minimum of 30 weeks of paid vacation for employees) seems to end up boosting job prospects. A recent study by Demos, a left-leaning think tank, suggests that opportunities for low-wage workers may be contracting, largely due to increased automation and information technologies and lower-wage workers adapting to shifting work conditions.
The biggest challenge, however, appears to be the fact that relatively few Americans know what they want to do. One of the main reasons people are holding jobs that are not fulfilling, Demos found, is that they’re too busy to find out how much they like them.
“If you can create a job they say ‘Oh, yeah, I can do that,’” said one of the report’s authors, Cara Urstadt. “‘I’ve had that sort of job for so long and it works for me.’”
This article is from The Washington Post and originally appeared on The Washington Post.
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