Minnesota job seekers find it’s still a buyer’s market

The economic recovery is now longer than the Great Recession. But given the glacial pace of job growth here and in the nation, the gap between jobs available and the unemployed just hasn’t closed much.

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Newly released data from Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development show the ratio of jobless to job vacancies is better than it was in 2009 but there are still far more job seekers than openings.

The DEED chart below tells the story.

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Yes, the fourth quarter 2010 data look better than 2009 — 5.8 unemployed people per job vacancy compared to 8.2 a year earlier. But the gap between vacancies and unemployment remains persistently stubborn.

Here’s another way to look at the data, from the DEED report.

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The numbers reinforce the growing concern about a “lost generation” of Minnesota workers.people who have had careers torpedoed in the recession but don’t have skills for life after the recession and may suffer, economically long after the recession’s end.

Here’s a breakdown of the Minnesota vacancies in the last quarter of 2010.

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So more than a year and a half into the official recovery, we have a wide, persistent gap between job openings and people who need jobs and worries that many of the unemployed don’t have the skills to fill the jobs that will open up and grow into the future.

As the state demographer recently put it, we need to be worried about, “a disturbing and growing mismatch between the skills of those looking for work and the skills employers seek to hire.”

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