Challenges of Job Vacancy Data
Statistics on job vacancies are a key component of national employment and economic data. Traditionally, job vacancies were only available quarterly or annually. Starting in October 2020, they will be available monthly and quarterly. Monthly data are tabulated by province, sector, and occupation. Quarterly data are released two months after the reporting month. The October data was released alongside the SEPH. The change in reporting frequency also means that job vacancy data will be more accessible.
One major issue that has been raised is the lack of comprehensive labor demand data for the United States. While data from the Bureau of Employment Security and National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) are important, they do not reflect job vacancies in detail. In addition, the Department of Labor is trying to develop more job vacancies, which has proven to be a controversial measure. While the government has put forth two feasibility studies on this subject, it has not conducted sufficient analysis to prove that these surveys are reliable. However, despite the potential benefits of using job vacancy data, this methodology is still a useful tool for analyzing market maladjustment.
Unlike the labor force data, job vacancies are a good way to identify areas of excess labor demand. Compared to employment, vacancies are also an indicator of wage instability. Therefore, a more accurate measure of job demand is needed to assess the economic health of the U.S. economy. The U.S. Department of Labor’s program to create more job vacancies is based on two significant feasibility studies, but has not completed sufficient analysis. Although job vacancy data does not represent excess labor demand, they do provide a good indication of market maladjustment.
Another challenge of measuring labor demand is a lack of data. There is no data on unemployment, but data on job vacancies is much better. Besides providing detailed information on the availability of jobs in a particular region, the data also includes the average wage offered and the education requirements. A simple survey can reveal whether a region or state is experiencing a shortage of workers. And, if a region or an industry has many vacancies, a corresponding increase in unemployment is likely to be experienced in that sector.
In the U.S., the data on vacancies is lacking. Only a limited number of vacancies is available, which limits the study’s application to economic data. In Maine, the most accurate estimates of vacancies come from local authorities and organizations. The state of the labor market is not a nation-wide or regional economy. This makes it a highly relevant indicator when comparing the current situation to the past and forecasting for the future.
In the U.S., unemployment and vacancies are not directly related. But the number of people seeking employment has increased in the past decade. In fact, unemployment rates have increased since the recession in 2008, and vacancies have become one of the most important indicators of labor markets. While these data are not yet complete, they are indicative of a general decline in job availability in the country. Moreover, they show the size of the labor market, which makes it a good indicator of a recession.