A Chart That Screams, 'Extend Unemployment Benefits!'

At the end of May there were 3.2 million job openings, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the face of nearly 15 million unemployed, that's obviously not enough. And if you add in those other Americans not working because they're discouraged or marginally attached ("U-5"), then that number jumps to almost 17 million. Here's a picture of how the labor market changed since 2007:

job openings vs jobless 2010-05.PNG

(Note: Jobless data is available through June, while job openings numbers are only available through May.)

This chart shows a serious problem. That giant gap consists of Americans who are unemployed, and couldn't get a job even if they wanted to. This emphasizes the need for Congress to extend unemployment benefits. It's pretty clear that millions of Americans remain unemployed because the jobs aren't there -- not becuase they aren't trying hard enough to find them. In fact, it's not even close.

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Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.

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