Good news on labor openings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday showed just how bad the news still is on unemployment.
The bureau's report found 3.9 million job openings across the country during February. That was the highest level since May 2008.
But five years ago, there were 2.1 unemployed people for every job opening. In February, there were 3.1.
"Even though you have a similar number of openings, the reason why the ratio is different is there are so many more people who are looking for work," said Elise Gould, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
In May 2008, 8.4 million people were unemployed, according to federal data. In February, there were 11.7 million people looking for work.
Just nine months before the Great Recession, the ratio of job openings to those seeking work was much better. In March 2007, there were 1.4 workers for every job opening, or nearly a job for every worker.
In a report on the data, Ms. Gould noted the job openings and labor turnover report showed unemployed workers "far outnumber the job openings in every sector. This demonstrates that the main problem is a broad-based lack of demand for workers -- and not, as is often claimed, available workers lacking the skills needed for the sectors with job openings."
Ann Belser: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1699.